Photo: Statements by Russian Putin and Egyptian President El-Sissi for media. Credit: Roscongress Foundation | Anatoliy Medved. - Photo: 2019

Putin and El-Sissy Greet the Outcome of Russia-Africa Summit

By Kester Kenn Klomegah

MOSCOW (IDN) – The first Russia-Africa Summit that brought together African leaders, corporate businesses, academics and other experts in the Black Sea city of Sochi on October 23-24 has agreed an action plan. At the initiative of African participants, a new dialogue mechanism – the Russia-Africa partnership forum – has been created.

Top-level meetings will take place within its framework once every three years, alternately in Russia and in an African state. And, the foreign ministers of Russia and three African countries – the current, future and previous chairpersons of the African Union – will meet for annual consultations.

In their joint declaration, the two sides have sets goals and tasks for the further development of Russia-Africa cooperation in all areas: politics, security, the economy, science and technology, culture and humanitarian sphere. They moved  from “ad hoc approach” and often controversial modalities of decision-making to “a more comprehensive structured long-term policy plan” in dealing with mutual relations.

Backdrop to the Summit are Russia-Africa relations based on long-standing traditions of friendship and solidarity going back to when the Soviet Union supported the struggle of the peoples of Africa against colonialism, racism and apartheid, protected their independence and sovereignty, and helped establish statehood, build the foundations of the national economy and create combat-ready national armed forces.

Besides, Russian specialists built major infrastructure facilities, including hydroelectric power plants, roads and industrial enterprises. Thousands of Africans received high-quality professional training in Russia.

“Expanding and simplifying mutually beneficial ties with African states are among Russia’s foreign policy priorities. We are constructively working together at the UN and its regional sector-specific institutions,” President Putin said in a press statement on October 24.

He added: “Our countries’ positions on important issues on the international agenda are close or similar. We are grateful to our African partners for supporting resolutions of prime importance for us, such as resolutions on combating the glorification of Nazism, on the non-deployment of weapons in space first, on confidence-building measures in outer space, and on international information security.”

As a permanent member of the United Nations, Russia stands with the countries of Africa on matters of strengthening peace and stability on the continent and ensuring regional security.

Russia is also striving to establish cooperation with African integration associations. Prospects for cooperation between the integration associations of Africa and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) were discussed at a meeting between the heads of regional African organisations and the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Board chairman.

EAEU is an international economic union comprising countries located in northern Eurasia, founded by Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia by treaty that entered into force on January 1, 2015. As of May 2018 member states included Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.

EAEU’s key objectives include increasing cooperation and economic competitiveness for the member states, and the promotion of stable development in order to raise the standard of living in member states. It was created in part in response to the economic and political influence of the European Union and other Western countries on former republics of the Soviet Union.

With a view to expanding trade and cooperation, a memorandum of understanding has been signed between the Eurasian Economic Commission and the African Union Commission at the Sochi Summit.

In 2018, Russia’s trade with African states grew more than 17 percent and exceeded $20 billion. Putin would like to bring it to at least $40 billion. Energy is an important area of economic cooperation. Joint projects are implemented in traditional sectors such as hydrocarbon production, construction and repair of power generation facilities as well as in peaceful nuclear energy and the use of renewable energy sources.

Putin said, Russian companies are ready to work with their African partners to upgrade transport infrastructure, develop telecommunications and digital technologies, provide information security, and they offer the most advanced technologies and engineering solutions.

He assured that Russia will continue the training of highly qualified national experts for all branches of the economy of the African states.

Russia has helped build over 100 educational institutions in Africa. Approximately 500,000 Africans completed training. Of these, about 100,000 received diplomas from Soviet and Russian universities, and 250,000 studied at joint educational centres in the African countries. Another 150,000 specialists were trained during the construction and operation of large industrial enterprises built with Russian participation.

Against this backdrop, the Russian President said, the Summit has “opened up a new page in the history of Russia’s relations with African countries”. He added: “This was a business meeting, but at the same time, it was very friendly, if not cordial, and this created a special atmosphere for our discussions.”

Appraising the Summit, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Chairperson of the African Union (AU) and co-chair of the Russia-Africa Summit, expressed appreciation displayed by the leaders of the African countries and the heads of the AU delegations who attended the Summit.

“This helped us to coordinate a final communique, which reflects the common priorities of Russia and the African countries and the [two] sides’ approach to many international matters, primarily peace, security and sustainable development in keeping with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

The Russia-Africa Summit is aimed at formalising a higher level of cooperation between the sides and their political will and desire to strengthen relations in all spheres in the interests of our goals – peace, stability and sustainable development, said El-Sissi.

He added, the open expression of Russian and African views on many issues of mutual interest, above all the development of political, economic, trade, scientific, technological and humanitarian relations, accelerated the movement towards the two sides’ goals.

It has also helped the heads of state and government from Africa and Russia to adopt a final declaration that reflects the principles coordinated by the two sides, the most important of which, according to El-Sissi, are:

–. respect for international law and the UN Charter,

–. the movement towards peace and security through the creation of more equal and fair international relations

–. and a world order based on the principles of multilateralism, respect for national sovereignty, non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries

–. and the peaceful settlement of crises, as well as the protection of national identity and civilisational and cultural pluralism.

“Our declaration has reaffirmed the goals of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We have approved a ministerial mechanism for promoting dialogue and partnership. We appreciate all these moves and believe that they have created a solid foundation for the further development of Russian-African relations,” said El-Sissi.

He added: Aware of our common responsibility, the Russian and African sides will continue coordinating their efforts to monitor the implementation of the documents adopted at the summit, because this meets the desires and aspirations of African nations and “the friendly” Russian Federation.

All of us are responsible for working constructively, he said, on the basis of our achievements and for joining efforts to consolidate the results of the first Russia-Africa Summit in order to meet the aspirations of the African continent and African nations as fully as possible, as well as the aspirations of our compatriots outside Africa who closely followed the summit hoping for positive results, which they believe will help us to materialise the desires and hopes of the rising generations. [IDN-InDepthNews, 25 October 2019]

Please click here for Kester Kenn Klomegah’s previous articles on IDN

Photo: Statements by Russian Putin and Egyptian President El-Sissi for media. Credit: Roscongress Foundation | Anatoliy Medved.

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate. –

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