By Kester Kenn Klomegah*
MOSCOW | HARARE (IDN) — Humanitarian aid issues are increasingly dominating the foreign policy priorities of the Russian Federation, but such charitable supplies are only reaching Soviet-era allied countries where top-level Russian delegations frequently visit in Africa. Early June, the Speaker of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation, Valentina Matviyenko, headed a group of Russian senators on a reciprocal inter-parliamentary visit to Harare, Zimbabwe.
After meeting with the Zimbabwean President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa and with the parliamentary group headed by the Chairman of the National Assembly of the Republic of Zimbabwe Jacob Mudenda, the Russian delegation went to deliver humanitarian aid to the ‘Angels of Hope Foundation’.
During her conversation with the head of the charitable foundation and First Lady of the Republic of Zimbabwe Auxilia Mnangagwa, the Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko noted the good atmosphere of mutual understanding and respect that has developed in Russian-Zimbabwean relations.
“Our cooperation has a strong foundation. We appreciate the independent position of your country on international platforms,” said the Chairperson of the Federation Council.
According to her, Russian parliamentarians are determined to intensify contacts in various fields in Zimbabwe. “From the side of the upper house of parliament we will render all possible assistance to this. We have a huge potential for bilateral cooperation, parliaments of the two countries can play significant role in this humanitarian work,” stressed Matviyenko.
That Russia is interested in developing mutually beneficial cooperation with the countries of the African continent. This is one of the foreign policy priorities of the Russian Federation.
She, in addition, drew attention to the fact that the Angels of Hope charity fund coordinates the selection of candidates from low-income families for higher education in Russia under the quota of the Government of the Russian Federation.
She expressed high appreciation for the participation of the Zimbabwean delegation in the Third Eurasian Women’s Forum in St. Petersburg. “We are determined to continue the practice of holding such representative international events with the participation of women from different countries, including Africa.”
Valentina Matviyenko invited Auxilia Mnangagwa to take part in the Fourth Eurasian Women’s Forum, which will be held in 2024, as well as in the forthcoming St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in October 2021.
While the women’s forum, one of the largest international platforms uniting female leaders from all continents, offers the chance to examine and discuss the role of women in the modern world and work out new approaches to solving global problems, SPIEF creates its platform for broad business networking.
First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa expressed her gratitude for the invitation. She thanked the Russian side for the assistance provided in the fight against Covid-19, in particular, for the supply of the Sputnik V vaccine, as well as for providing scholarships to Zimbabwean students who are currently studying at Russian universities.
Auxilia Mnangagwa spoke about the activities of the Foundation that she leads, and after this Matviyenko finally donated the humanitarian aid to the Foundation, which includes sets of children’s clothing, sportswear, soccer balls and sewing machines.
“Caught in a difficult life situation, each person needs support and, unfortunately, women and children continue to be the most vulnerable to the consequences of rapid changes in this modern world. The Russian delegation brought things to Zimbabwe that could help organize the life of children and make their leisure time more comfortable,” Matviyenko emphasized.
Significant to recall here that last October, Zimbabwean First Lady, Auxillia Mnangagwa, on the sidelines held a special meeting with Matviyenko, focusing on developing inter-parliamentary relations, women in sustainable development, education and charity.
The Russian Speaker snapshotted the possibility of greater participation of Russian economic operators in the development processes, specifically in Zimbabwe and generally in the southern African region. Both women have expressed an appreciation for cooperating on various questions on international platforms. Diplomatic relations between Zimbabwe and Russia marked their 40th year. [IDN-InDepthNews — 06 June 2022]
* Kester Kenn Klomegah is a frequent and passionate contributor to IDN. During his professional career as a researcher specialising in Russia-Africa policy, which spans nearly two decades, he has been detained and questioned several times by federal security services for reporting facts. Most of his well-resourced articles are reprinted in several reputable foreign media.
Photo: Speaker of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation, Valentina Matviyenko.
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