Discover more from karlof1’s Geopolitical Gymnasium
Russia-Africa Summit or Biden Corruption Revelations
The former's far more enlightening.
I must say that the cesspool that’s the Executive branch of the federal government deepens and becomes more putrid with every administration, although the Ds seem to have upstaged the Rs on that so far this century, although not by much. Really need to plug b’s Moon of Alabama article, “Judge Rejects Hunter Biden's Dirty Plea Deal,” although it only casts light on the visible tip of the Biden Corruption Iceberg. The intellectually uplifting events are happening in Korea—70th anniversary of the armistice—and Russia where the summit with Africa was off and running hard today.
There are several events. Vladimir Putin spoke at the plenary session of the Russia–Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum that included the participation of many others whose views you’ll soon read.
That was preceded by a working breakfast with African heads of state and those of multilateral African organizations. There was a solemn reception held in the evening. And there were numerous meetings between Putin and Africans on the sidelines during the day and deep into the night.
Nestled in the middle was a luncheon trilateral meeting held at the Expo forum site between Vladimir Putin, the Chairman of the African Union and President of the Union Comoros Azali Assoumani, and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussoy Faki Mahamat.
We’ll begin with the smaller events and end with the Plenary Session. One of the drawbacks of using only the Kremlin readouts is they naturally focus on what Russian figures say in the interactive discourse. First up is the working breakfast with leaders of regional organizations in Africa:
Vladimir Putin: Dear ladies and gentlemen, Dear friends! I am pleased to welcome the Heads of State currently chairing the major regional organizations in Africa.
I also welcome the heads of the executive bodies of these associations. You represent the entire spectrum of organizations and structures operating on the continent: the African Union( Afro-Union), the New Partnership for Africa's Development, the East African Community, the Arab Maghreb Union, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the Intergovernmental Organization for Development, the Economic Community of Central African States, the Economic Community of West African Countries, and the African Export-Import Bank. This is a very solid, self-explanatory list.
As for Russia, our country is actively involved in regional integration projects that are being implemented in the vast expanse of Eurasia. Perhaps the key one is the Eurasian Economic Union, in which Russia participates together with our friendly neighboring countries and which is aimed at creating common markets for goods, services, capital and labor. Therefore, we considered it important to discuss the prospects for cooperation between the Eurasian Union and African integration structures, and first of all with the African Union, within which similar processes are developing and the African Continental Free Trade Zone has been created.
The corresponding ideas and proposals will be presented by the Head of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission, Mr. [Mikhail] Myasnikovich. In my turn, I would like to note that the African Union is Russia's main partner among regional organizations, and we support the multi-faceted activities of this structure to ensure peace and stability, expand political and economic integration.
A large-scale joint Russian-African Union action plan until 2026 will be approved today. This comprehensive document is adopted as a follow-up to the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Russian Federation and the African Union Commission on the Basics of Relations and Cooperation of 2019 and provides for the activation of contacts on peace and security issues and crisis management.
In addition, we believe that the creation of a new permanent dialogue mechanism for consultations on such pressing topics as the fight against terrorism and extremism, ensuring food, information and environmental security could qualitatively complement the tools of cooperation between Russia and the African Union.
And of course, I would like to mention that Russia supports the inclusion of the African Union as a full participant in the work of the G20 . We have already discussed this today. We expect that a decision on this issue, including with our support, will be made by the G20 in September at the summit in New Delhi. Such a decision would objectively reflect the ever-growing role of the African continent and its leading regional structures in international affairs.
Naturally, we are ready to establish and effectively develop cooperation with other regional organizations in Africa represented at our meeting. We stand for close foreign policy coordination and cooperation with them in countering modern challenges and threats, including terrorism, extremism and organized crime, for implementing mutually beneficial trade and economic initiatives, and for working together to promote development.
We are convinced that such a multi-faceted partnership is an essential complement to our bilateral ties and contacts with our African friends and fully meets the interests of our states, contributing to sustainable economic growth and prosperity for both Russia and Africa.
During this working breakfast, of course, we will be very happy to hear the speeches of the heads of African regional structures. I hope that our meeting and communication will be fruitful.
I am now pleased to give the floor to the Chairman of the African Union Commission, Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat.
Thank you for your attention.
:(as translated)M. F. Mahamat Your Excellency Mr. President of the Russian Federation,
Dear Heads of State, Dear colleagues!
Dear heads of regional economic organizations,
On behalf of all of us, I would like to thank Mr. President Putin for organizing this extremely timely event – a meeting with the leaders of international African organizations within the framework of the Russia – Africa summit.
In October 2019, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Russian Foreign Minister regarding our partnership. It talks about peace, stability, and socio-economic development.
Despite the terrible COVID-19 pandemic, we continued to exchange views and documents with the Russian Foreign Ministry in order to clarify the provisions of this memorandum and develop an action plan.
I think that our summit today will also allow us to clarify additional points and finalize the action plan, as the President of the Russian Federation stressed today, for the period up to 2026.
We, in the African Union, have the African Economic Commission, which operates on a continent-wide basis, and eight regional organizations that the African Union relies on.
Africa has adopted a plan of action until 2063. Highlights: integration, prosperity and peace.
As for integration, we are currently working with regional economic communities, because we are sure that our countries cannot develop individually.
Mr. President, your country is an example. Russia was a huge empire, then the Soviet Union existed, and today Russia is also a Federation, that is, a unifying structure. The same philosophy as we have in the African Union: the Organization of African Unity was established 60 years ago, and then the African Union took its place, with 55 member States today.
On the development of the African continent. We have natural resources, human resources, and huge ones at that. Despite the difficult moments of our history – slavery, colonization-it is important that within the framework of our African Union, both human and natural resources are used for the development of our countries. To do this, we need both internal work and work within the framework of partnerships that are important for both our continent and our partners.
This morning, the President of the Russian Federation said that Africa's relations with Russia, and before that with the Soviet Union, were very developed. The Soviet Union supported the struggle of African countries first against colonialism, then against apartheid, and, of course, the Soviet Union trained thousands of specialists, men and women, in various fields of the economy, and they continue to work in Africa. So we already have a solid foundation on which to build a modern partnership.
Our continent's priorities are primarily infrastructure. Mr. President Abdelfattah Sisi is here, and he has worked hard on this issue. Africa is 30 million square kilometers, it is 1.5 billion people, but we are a kind of enclave in the world: we have few roads, railways, we do not have enough airports, and so on. Today we have created theoretically the largest free trade zone in the world, but we need to physically unite our countries, connect our regions, so that the resources of our continent can be used in the best possible way. This is the largest project of our continent. Infrastructure and energy are essential conditions for development.
Russia is an industrial country with vast experience, particularly in the field of energy, rail and road transport. I think today that our partnership has not yet reached the level that Russia and African countries deserve. We need new efforts in this area.
And we are not talking about development assistance, we know how it happened on our continent. We need investments, we need mutual interest, we need to move towards each other. I think all the leaders of African countries are ready to work within the framework of such a partnership, to work together, within the framework of jointly created plans that will be implemented according to a strictly established calendar.
Agriculture, food security – we have talked about this a lot. 60 percent of the world's undeveloped arable land is in Africa. We have a lot of water, a lot of forests. Despite this, we do not provide ourselves with food. It's very strange, it's very sad. Today, our task is not to import, but to organize the transfer of technologies to Africa. Such technologies exist, and there are already areas where cooperation is being planned and suggested.
As for human resources. I have already spoken about education and healthcare, and thank you for speaking about it today, in particular about training professional personnel.
I told Minister Lavrov when I visited in the fall of 2021 that most of the specialists in my country, in particular in the field of physics and mathematics, were students of Russian teachers in the field of physics, chemistry and mathematics. It is impossible to train an engineer if you do not know physics and mathematics properly, this is the basis of new technologies. And this is an area where it is very important, by the way, to train teachers in order to transfer such technical knowledge.
And finally, as for security. Today, Africa, alas, has become a theater of operations for various extremists and terrorists in the north, in the Sahel, in the Horn of Africa, in the Great Lakes region, and even up to Mozambique. Terrorist attacks, attacks by terrorist groups-all this is a serious challenge for us. Our forces need to be strengthened in this regard.
Everyone today is talking about the African brigades in the east, in the south and so on, our combined forces. But they need to be trained, to raise their level.
UN missions have been operating on our territory for 60 years, but it is expensive and not very convenient. We talked about this in the UN Security Council, but this issue continues to hang in the air. So with the help of our friends and our own efforts, we try to solve security issues. I think that Russia has a big role to play here.
Mr. President, Your Excellency, distinguished colleagues, I have tried to outline the main points of our cooperation. I hope that my colleagues will have more to say about this.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.
I always listen to Mr. Mahamat with pleasure and interest, he is able to touch on the most important topics, and does it very figuratively, concretely.
Please, I have already introduced you to my colleague, Mr. Myasnikovich, Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission.
Mikhail Myasnikovich: Dear President of the Russian Federation,
First of all, I would like to thank the Russian Federation for organizing the second Russia – Africa summit and forum at the highest level, which we believe is a very important and necessary event.
What I would like to mention today.
First. Eurasia and the integration association of Africa have similar guidelines for the development of integration processes, this is important, they are recorded in our program documents. First of all, I would like to mention the Strategy of the Eurasian Economic Union until 2025 and the Agenda for the Development of Africa until 2063 – internal unity, improving the well-being of citizens and the competitiveness of the economies of the member states. As already mentioned, to achieve these goals in our Eurasian Economic Union, the freedom of movement of goods, services, capital and labor is really ensured.
The President of the Russian Federation, Mr. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, has proposed adding a fifth freedom to this list-the freedom of knowledge, which we believe is very relevant in this situation, as my colleague also mentioned.
A few words about our Eurasian Economic Union. It is developing successfully. Despite the difficult conditions, last year we achieved a record export growth of 21 percent in foreign trade and 14 percent in mutual trade. This year, mutual trade has increased by another 17 percent. In 2023, the economy of our Union is expected to grow by more than 2 percent, according to experts ' calculations.
The internal market of the Eurasian Economic Union is fully supplied with grain, meat, milk, and sugar from its own production. At the same time, for example, last year, in 2022, the Union countries exported tens of millions of tons of grain, 590 thousand tons of sugar, 460 thousand tons of meat and meat products, 100 thousand tons of milk and dairy products.
I say this because the potential opportunities for trade with colleagues from Africa are good, both in food products and industrial products.
Second. There are reasons to develop cooperation more actively, and the corresponding foundation has been created. We have documented relations with the African Union, COMESA-the common market for Eastern and Southern Africa, and documents are being prepared with the East African Community and the Economic Community of Central African States. But practical measures are needed. Therefore, at the final stage, dear participants, I would like to report that we are negotiating with Egypt on the creation of a free trade zone. By the way, on August 14 this year, the Eurasian Economic Commission, whose board I head, has scheduled talks in Moscow – this is the sixth round of negotiations on this issue.
Why do I pay attention to these practical cases? The member states of our Eurasian Economic Union consider comprehensive cooperation with Egypt as a key to developing partnership relations with African countries in general. There is a certain infrastructure, as discussed at the plenary session today – the Russian industrial zone in Egypt, and we are aware of plans for its serious development.
Therefore, in this situation, dear leaders, we ask that the integration associations of Africa give, perhaps, additional positive signals to their businesses to work more actively with the Eurasian Economic Union. In turn, our business circles have received such recommendations.
The third. In 2022, the trade turnover of the Eurasian Economic Union with African countries increased by 3.5 percent. This is basically a small percentage, taking into account the potential opportunities. Therefore, as a result of the measures taken, we already have the results of the first half of the year, specifically four months, with growth of 15.5 percent. These are good indicators, and we need to move on at this rate. So I would like to thank our African partners for this.
We see prospects for the development of economic relations in one more direction, and I will focus on it-this is the joint implementation of specific projects. Yes, it is true that today Russian companies are building a nuclear power plant in Egypt (Rosatom), developing oil and gas fields in West Africa (LUKOIL), and producing bauxite and alumina (RUSAL). Belarusian tractors are being produced in the Republic of South Africa, and a special company is operating. A joint Belarusian-Egyptian enterprise for the production of trucks operates in Egypt.
I believe that a very interesting project is the implementation of the joint agricultural program of Belarus and Zimbabwe. Last year, we managed to get a record wheat harvest for the first time in the last 50 years, which practically meets the domestic needs of this country in this crop.
We plan to scale up the positive examples of our cooperation. Companies of the Eurasian Union countries have the opportunity to increase the supply of machine-tractor, cargo, and municipal equipment, as well as high-tech equipment for mining and processing of minerals, as mentioned by previous speakers. There is a very large niche here. So far, this is a small export, but here you can increase the volume.
I would like to draw your attention to the fact that we are talking not only about trade, but also about technological transfer: creating localized production facilities, training specialists, implementing scientific and educational programs, exporting developments in the field of information and communication technologies-that is, organizing work on a full technological cycle. We in the Union have the appropriate competencies and experience in implementing joint projects.
Therefore, this approach, in our opinion, will increase the efficiency of the African economy and create new skilled jobs, which means that the social function is also being implemented. But we need to have, of course, more effective motivational mechanisms for project cooperation.
To work out this issue, we propose organizing a Eurasian business mission under the auspices of the Eurasian Economic Commission and the Business Council of the Eurasian Economic Union (this year the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, Alexander Shokhin, is chairing) to African countries. As a result, we will start forming a joint project under the working title " Eurasian Technologies. Shared future".
We ask you, Mr President, and our African partners to support this proposal. We are ready to work with our African friends on other projects for a fair and successful future.
Thanks for attention.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much, Mr Myasnikovich.
Next up is the meeting with President of the Union of the Comoros Azali Assoumani and Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat:
Vladimir Putin: Dear Mr. President, Mr. Chairman, I am glad to see you again.
First of all, I would like to say that we consider the African Union as a leading regional organization that forms a modern security structure on the continent and creates conditions for ensuring Africa's worthy place in the system of global economic ties.
We support the Union's involvement in the work of leading international associations. Let me remind you that Russia was one of the first countries to respond positively to the initiative put forward last year by your predecessors in the presidency, the President of Senegal, to grant the African Union full membership in the G20. We expect that this decision will be made as early as September during the G20 summit in New Delhi.
As before, Russia is ready to do everything possible to strengthen the sovereignty of African States and help Africa become one of the key partners in the new system of a multipolar world order. We will pay special attention to these issues during the summit opening today. We will also discuss practical solutions related to building up trade and economic cooperation, ensuring food and energy security, and developing national health systems.
The planned adoption of the declaration of the second Russia – Africa Summit and the Russia – African Union action Plan for 2023-26 will give impetus to the development of practical work in these and many other areas.
Dear friends and colleagues,
Despite the difficulties associated with the coronavirus pandemic and the introduction of illegal sanctions against Russia, we managed to ensure an increase in the pace of trade and economic ties. In 2022, the volume of mutual trade amounted to about $ 18 billion, and in the first half of this year, the trade turnover increased by almost 35 percent.
Russia continues to be a reliable supplier of food to Africa. In 2022, Russian exports of this group of goods amounted to $ 4.7 billion. Many large Russian companies are successfully operating in Africa. Key areas of cooperation are energy, subsurface use, and agriculture. There are good opportunities for cooperation in the scientific, technical, educational and cultural spheres.
We also attach great importance to our relations with the Union of the Comoros. They are based on the principles of mutual respect and consideration of each other's interests, and have the potential to develop in a number of areas. Of course, we are open to cooperation with your country in all areas.
Thank you for your attention.
: (as translated)But.Assoumani Mr. President of the Russian Federation! Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairman of the African Union Commission,
It is a great honor for me to speak and thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Every time I come here, not just now on the occasion of the opening of the summit, we feel a brotherly welcome, so every time we want to return to this beautiful country. Thank you for the reception, for organizing the summit, and for all the decisions that were taken to ensure its success. This is an excellent platform for discussing relations between Russia and Africa – and the Comoros in particular, as you noted.
First of all, let me repeat once again, Mr. President, that Russia is a very important partner for Africa. They say that a friend is known in trouble, and just in difficult times, Russia has always been close to Africa, throughout all the time, no matter what problems arise – the struggle for independence – Russia has always been close, despite all the difficulties that Africa has undergone.
The Russian Federation's investment in African countries has allowed many countries to embark on the path of development. And, Mr. President, in this regard, you can be sure that we are sincerely grateful to you for this.
Mr. President, this meeting really allows us to discuss African issues, regional issues, and discuss relations that should develop in the interests of the Russian Federation, the continent, and the whole world, because Russia is a world power. So it's not just about Africa, but about the whole world. We came here for just such a conversation. We are ready to discuss these issues with Russia and other partners. We are aware of this, because we are talking about partners in the interests of Africa or partners within Africa itself.
Mr. President, today the world is facing many challenges of an economic, climate-related and serious scale, and we all recognize this. Despite the potential, unfortunately, not everyone can still understand that it is necessary to use the available resources for the benefit of humanity. Many suffer from scarcity and poverty. This is not just about climate issues, but also about security issues. Now the world is almost on the verge of destruction, and African States are suffering from this. We become victims of such policies. African States are now subject to serious suffering. We are suffering from shortages and other problems, unfortunately, from the migration of Africans to other countries.
All this is largely caused by the problems of climate change, these are natural problems. But as far as security concerns are concerned, many African States face security challenges – whether it's wars between States.
Unfortunately, climate and security issues are forcing us, the leaders of African States, to solve very complex problems. Of course, nothing is simple in life, but, Mr. President, I would like to say once again that climate and security issues are the most important issues. But energy issues are also [important], how we can help each other, ensure African autonomy – the coronavirus taught us this-of course, it's a little easier.
There is a huge potential in Africa, but we need help to realize it.
Again, Mr. President, I will return to security issues, we also have intra-African problems in this area, but, as I said, of course, there is a problem between Russia and Ukraine – we do not turn a blind eye to this, since we have partnership relations with both countries. We are witnessing negative consequences that affect the entire world, including Africa. So we are here to try to find a solution that would satisfy both your sister country, Russia, and the African continent as well.
Once again, Mr. President, I would like to thank you for the reception. Thank you for organizing. We are always ready to meet with you in order to create a certain system of relations and cooperation that is reliable for both countries. We are also ready to constantly change it, because, of course, the world is constantly changing. Obviously, the program created 20 years ago is not applicable today. We have come here to understand how we can adapt to emerging problems, achieve significant results and serve the benefit of our peoples.
Once again, Mr. President, thank you very much.
В.Путин: Merci beaucoup.
:(as translated)M. F. Mahamat Your Excellency Mr. President of the Russian Federation, Mr. President of the African Union,
For my part, let me also express my gratitude for the warm welcome you received in the wonderful city of St. Petersburg, which was founded more than three centuries ago by Peter the Great, the great ruler of your country.
Four years ago, we met at the first Russia-Africa summit. I think this is a wonderful opportunity to thank you and discuss our partnership.
Peace and development are priorities that primarily concern the African Union. Africa faces a serious security challenge. First of all, we are talking about the fight against terrorism – this is a truly destabilizing factor in a huge part of African territory. We would like to see partnership in this area become more prominent and thus help Africa fight terrorism.
We will take part in the humanitarian and economic forum.
Africa is also facing problems caused by a lack of stability, but we are also dealing with a food crisis, which is partly caused by the war between Russia and Ukraine. I think this is an opportunity to discuss this topic and see what we can do, because Africa is suffering from the negative consequences of this conflict.
Two years ago, together with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, we held a second meeting of diplomatic consultations in Moscow. You probably remember that in 2019 we signed a memorandum of understanding [between the Government of the Russian Federation and the African Union on the basics of relations and cooperation], and we are doing everything possible to translate this into concrete actions.
Africa's priorities are peace and security, agricultural development and industrialization, but also energy issues, since any disruptions in the international system affect Africa both in terms of energy and food. I would like to remind you that the Russian Federation remains an important African partner, particularly in terms of personnel training – thousands of Africans have been educated here. They are the ones who are currently working on issues of economic, social and cultural development on our continent, and we would like to see this partnership develop even more.
Let us not forget Russia's constant support in the struggle for the liberation of Africa, in the fight against apartheid, and in the UN Security Council on African issues.
One and a half billion people live on the African continent, and therefore their voice is important both within the G20 and in general – very often African issues are discussed without its participation, so we ask for your support within various organizations that make decisions on Africa at the global level.
Fertilizers and energy are Africa's priorities, and I think this is a good opportunity to discuss this issue and strengthen our partnership.
Now we have President Putin’s words at the Solemn Ceremonial Reception honoring the participants in the Second Russia-Africa Summit:
Vladimir Putin: Dear ladies and gentlemen, Dear friends!
I would like once again to extend my warmest greetings to the participants of the second Russia – Africa Summit and the Russian-African Economic and Humanitarian Forum.
We are glad, dear friends, that heads of State and Government, leading politicians and statesmen from almost all African countries have arrived in St. Petersburg. Heads of executive bodies of African integration associations are also present here.
Such a representative group of participants gathered in our Northern capital, as we call St. Petersburg, convincingly demonstrates the mutual desire of Russia and the countries of the continent to expand and deepen mutually beneficial ties and contacts. This is also a real confirmation of our common intentions to bring relations between Russia and African countries to a new, even more advanced level in politics, security, economic and social spheres.
And we are confident that the St. Petersburg summit will fully contribute to achieving this main goal. We are optimistic about the future, as Russian-African relations are based on strong ties of friendship and mutual assistance, the accumulated positive experience of joint work, and a truly rich and eventful history.
At one time, the Soviet Union supported the peoples of Africa in the struggle against colonialism, racism and apartheid, in the formation of statehood, strengthening and defending independence, and helped African countries lay the foundations of national economies. Significant infrastructure, energy, industrial and agricultural facilities were built, hospitals and schools were created, and assistance was provided in the formation and equipping of combat-ready armed forces. Hundreds of thousands of Africans graduated from our universities, and the knowledge and professions they acquired-engineers, economists, doctors, lawyers, and many others-have brought and still bring practical benefits to African states. Russia will continue and multiply these good traditions.
It is equally important to note that Russia and the countries of Africa now stand together for the formation of a just multipolar world order based on the principles of sovereign equality of States, non-interference in their internal affairs, and respect for the right of peoples to determine their own destiny.
And of course, our country will continue to make a real contribution to resolving current crises and preventing the emergence of new hotbeds of tension on the continent, to combating terrorism and extremism, pandemics and hunger, and to addressing environmental, food and information security issues.
Many people in Africa know the saying: "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." We are really ready to work together, hand in hand with our African friends, to work for the future, to build truly strategic cooperation and partnership.
And now for the Plenary Session of the Russia–Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum:
The meeting was also attended by Chairman of the African Union, President of the Union of Comoros Azali Assoumani, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export-Import Bank Benedict Orama and President of the New Development Bank Dilma Rousseff. The meeting was moderated by Irina Abramova, Director of the Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The main theme of the forum is technology and security for the sake of sovereign development for the benefit of people.
* * *
Irina Abramova: Your Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen, Colleagues and friends!
We are starting the plenary session of the second Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum.
I now give the floor to President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
Dear Mr. Assoumani, Dear Heads of State and Government, High representatives of the countries of the African continent! Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you in St. Petersburg. Thank you for accepting the invitation to visit us. In our country, you are among friends and like-minded people.
The participants of the plenary session of the Economic and Humanitarian Forum are very representative. I consider it symbolic that the program of the Russia – Africa summit begins with this important event. Its motto - "Technology and security for sovereign development for the benefit of people" - sounds really relevant. And, of course, we will discuss the entire range of issues on the financial, trade, investment, educational and social agenda in conjunction with the dynamic changes taking place in the world in the digital and information sphere. At the same time, the main guideline is to strengthen the well – being of our citizens, improve their living conditions, and solve pressing problems.
I would like to note that many useful and constructive discussions are held during the forum's specialized sessions on energy, logistics and transport, agriculture, finance, and healthcare. Promising ideas and proposals for new mutually beneficial joint projects, specific practical agreements, and commercial contracts are considered.
The potential of Africa is obvious to everyone. Thus,the average annual growth rate of the continent's GDP over the past 20 years – 4-4.5 percent per year – exceeds the global average. The population is approaching 1.5 billion and growing faster than anywhere else in the world. It is also characteristic that the growth of the middle class, which forms the main demand for modern goods and services, overtakes similar indicators in most regions of the world.
Russia, represented by official circles, business and the public, is sincerely interested in further deepening the multifaceted trade, investment and humanitarian ties with the continent, which meets the needs of all our states and contributes to sustainable growth and prosperity. I would like to note that last year the Russian-African trade turnover reached $ 18 billion. This is one of the obvious results of the Sochi Russia-Africa summit. I am confident that together we will be able to increase trade more radically in the foreseeable future. By the way, in the first half of this year alone, the volume of export-import operations with African countries increased by more than a third. The structure of trade also looks good: over 50 percent of Russian supplies to Africa are machinery and equipment, chemical products, and food.
We understand the importance of uninterrupted food supply to African countries – which is important for socio-economic development and for maintaining political stability. Therefore, we always pay and will continue to pay special attention to the supply of wheat, barley, maize and other grain crops to our African friends, including as humanitarian aid through the UN Food Programme.
Dear friends, the figures speak for themselves: last year, trade in agricultural products between Russia and African countries grew by 10 percent to $ 6.7 billion, and in January–June of this year, it has already increased by a record 60 percent. Russia exported 11.5 million tons of grain to Africa in 2022, and almost 10 million tons in the first six months of this year alone. And this is despite the illegal sanctions imposed on our exports, which seriously hinder the supply of Russian food, complicate transportation, logistics, insurance and bank payments.
A paradoxical picture is emerging: on the one hand, Western countries are obstructing the supply of our grain and fertilizers, and on the other – I will say it bluntly – they hypocritically accuse us of the current crisis situation on the world food market. This approach was particularly evident in the implementation of the so-called grain deal, which was concluded with the participation of the UN Secretariat and was initially aimed at ensuring global food security, reducing the threat of hunger and helping the poorest countries, including in Africa.
However, in almost a year, as part of this so-called deal, a total of 32.8 million tons of cargo were exported from Ukraine, of which more than 70 percent, dear friends, went to countries with high and above-average income levels, including and primarily meaning the European Union, while countries such as Ethiopia accounted for Africa , Sudan, Somalia and a number of others accounted for – please note-less than three percent of the total volume: less than one million tons.
Russia agreed to participate in this so-called deal, including taking into account the obligations contained in it that illegitimate obstacles to the supply of our grain and fertilizers to world markets would be removed. And I want to tell you that this, and above all this, is helping the poorest countries.
In fact, nothing has happened from what we discussed and what was promised to us. None of the terms of the deal related to the withdrawal of Russian grain and fertilizer exports to world markets from sanctions were fulfilled. None of them. Obstacles were also put in place for the free transfer of mineral fertilizers to the poorest countries in need – just now we were meeting with our colleagues and the leadership of the African Union. Of the 262 thousand tons of such fertilizers blocked in European ports, only two shipments were sent: only 20 thousand tons to Malawi and 34 thousand tons to Kenya. The rest was left in the hands of the Europeans. And this is despite the fact that it was a purely humanitarian action, which in principle should not be subject to any sanctions.
Well, someone does not want Russia, as some say, to "enrich itself", send money for military purposes. But this is a gratuitous transfer! No, they don't. Despite all the empty talk about wanting to help the poorest countries.
Taking into account the mentioned facts, we refused to extend this "deal" further. I have already said that our country is able to replace Ukrainian grain both on a commercial basis and in the form of gratuitous assistance to the most needy countries in Africa, especially since we are again expected to have a record harvest this year.
To be specific, I will add that we will be ready to provide 25-50 thousand tons of grain to Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Eritrea, Mali, Somalia, and Zimbabwe for free in the next three to four months, and we will also provide free delivery of these products to consumers.
Perhaps a few more figures will be interesting. Ukraine produced about 55 million tons of grain in the last agricultural year. Exports totaled 47 million tons – quite a lot, including 17 million tons of wheat. And Russia, dear colleagues, harvested 156 million tons of grain last year. It exported 60 million tons, including 48 million tons of wheat.
Russia's share in the global wheat market is 20 percent, while Ukraine's is less than five percent. This means that it is Russia that makes a significant contribution to global food security and is a solid, responsible international supplier of agricultural products. And those who claim that this is not the case, that [it is] only securing this so-called grain deal for the export of Ukrainian grain, simply distort the facts, they are not telling the truth. As a matter of fact, this has been the practice of some Western states for decades, if not centuries.
Our country will continue to support States and regions in need, including with its humanitarian supplies. We strive to actively participate in the formation of a more equitable system of resource allocation, and make every effort to prevent the global food crisis.
In principle, we are convinced that with the use of appropriate agricultural technologies and the proper organization of agricultural production, Africa can not only feed itself, independently ensure its food security, but also become an exporter of various types of food. And Russia will only provide support, I assure you.
Yesterday, during our bilateral meetings, my colleagues and I just talked about this, and my African colleagues told me, they said: we have the ability to produce food – we need technology and appropriate support. For its part, Russia is ready to share its expertise in the field of agricultural production with African countries and assist in the introduction of the most advanced technologies.
We are also interested in further developing cooperation with African countries in the energy sector. This cooperation is based on a wealth of experience: over the years, Soviet and Russian specialists have designed and built large power hubs in Angola, Egypt, Ethiopia and other countries of the continent with a combined capacity of 4.6 gigawatts, and in total – I want to emphasize this and draw your attention to this, dear friends – a quarter of all Africa's hydropower capacity has been created.
Currently, Russian companies are implementing new mutually beneficial projects aimed at meeting the growing needs of African economies for fuel and generating capacity, and ensuring access to low-cost, reliable, sustainable and environmentally friendly energy sources for Africans.
More than 30 promising energy projects with Russian participation in 16 African countries are currently under various stages of development. The total capacity of the electric power projects we are working on is about 3.7 gigawatts. RusHydro offers a wide range of services to its African partners, from designing and supplying equipment to modernizing and constructing new turnkey generation facilities. Gazprom, Rosneft, Lukoil, and Zarubezhneft are our companies that develop oil and gas fields in Algeria, Egypt, Cameroon, Nigeria, and the Republic of the Congo. Over the past two years, exports of Russian crude oil, petroleum products, and liquefied natural gas to Africa have increased 2.6 times.
Rosatom, our leading company in the field of nuclear energy, is building the Dabaa nuclear power plant in Egypt. At the same time, our state corporation can provide African countries with its unique experience and technologies that have no analogues in the world in the field of non-energy use of the "peaceful atom", for example, in medicine and agriculture.
Of particular importance is the deepening of Russian-African industrial cooperation. Our industrial products, including automobiles, construction equipment, etc., are widely known on the continent and are in great demand, they are distinguished by good quality, reliability and ease of operation. In Africa, there are special service centers for servicing Russian equipment.
We are developing new tools for concessional lending for African purchases of our industrial products, their transportation to the continent, and after-sales services. The Russian Agency for Export Credit and Investment Insurance provides insurance coverage for loans. A leasing mechanism focused on Africa and a specialized investment fund for participation in the financing of infrastructure projects are being formed. In Egypt, as I spoke with my colleague President Sisi yesterday, we are discussing, and I hope that we will soon launch a Russian industrial zone in the Suez Canal area. We expect that the construction of the first production facilities will begin there this year, and in the future the manufactured goods will be exported throughout Africa.
As one of the leaders in the field of information and communication technologies, Russia is expanding cooperation with African countries in the field of information security, artificial intelligence, and the digital economy. We have good experience in creating and using information technologies in tax administration, registration of property rights, provision of electronic public services to citizens and legal entities, and companies. We can assist interested African countries in launching similar systems and are always ready to share our best practices in the context of technological development.
In order to further expand the full range of trade and economic ties, it is important to move more vigorously to national currencies, including the ruble, in financial settlements for trade transactions. In this regard, we are ready to work with African countries to develop their financial infrastructure and connect banking institutions to the Financial Message Transmission System established in Russia, which allows cross-border payments to be made independently of some existing Western systems that impose restrictions. This will help to increase the sustainability, predictability and security of mutual trade exchanges.
Russia is also actively engaged in reorienting transport and logistics flows towards the countries of the global south, including, of course, Africa. The North-South international transport corridor, which we are developing, aims to provide Russian goods with access to the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean, from where they can reach the African continent via the shortest sea route. Naturally, this corridor can also be used in the opposite direction for the supply of African goods to the Russian market.
Ensuring the connection of the North-South transport corridor with Africa, launching regular shipping cargo lines – this is what we are trying to achieve – opening a Russian transport and logistics center in one of the ports on the African east coast would be a good thing, a good start to this joint work. We consider it very important to ensure a wider coverage of the African continent by direct air services, and participation in the development of the African railway network is an urgent task that we invite our African friends to work together on.
Russia is interested in strengthening multifaceted ties with all regional economic integration associations and structures operating on the continent. For example, we are in favor of establishing cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Union, which is the largest integration project in which Russia participates, and the African continental free Trade Zone, which is formed within the framework of the African Union. We are also ready to share our integration experience through the Union State of Russia and Belarus with our African partners.
Today we will hold a working lunch with the heads of State and Government of the countries that currently lead the main regional organizations in Africa, and the heads of executive bodies of these associations. We intend to offer our African partners our best practices on such important integration issues as the lifting of restrictions within the single market, the functioning of free trade zones, and the implementation of coordinated agricultural, industrial and other sectoral policies. I am convinced that such comprehensive cooperation, both on a bilateral and multilateral basis, will allow us to qualitatively and quantitatively increase economic ties with Africa. I would also like to draw your attention to the fact that bilateral intergovernmental commissions have proved their effectiveness in developing cooperation in the economic and humanitarian spheres. However, they are now available in Russia only with every third country on the continent, a total of 18 of them for 54 countries. In this regard, we suggest that interested and yet unrecognized African States consider forming such commissions together with us. Of course, we are ready for this, and we think it would be useful.
We are also ready to expand the network of Russian trade missions operating in Africa, increase the staff of economic advisers, attaches for agriculture, education, science and information and communication technologies.
We will continue to pay close attention to strengthening cultural, scientific, educational, sports and youth exchanges between Russia and African States. Our country also has a lot to offer here.
Of course, training of qualified personnel has been and remains a traditional area of Russian-African cooperation – we have just discussed this at a meeting with the leadership of the African Union.
Today, almost 35,000 students from Africa study at Russian universities, and this number is growing every year. The quota for training for Africans at the expense of the federal budget has increased two and a half times in three years and for the next academic year will be more than 4,700 people.
There are plans to open branches of leading Russian universities in Africa. Close cooperation with African educational institutions is also being established within the framework of the Russian-African Network University. I would like to mention that on the eve of our forum, on July 26, Saint Petersburg Mining University signed an agreement on the creation of the Russian-African Consortium of Technical Universities "Nedra Afrika", which provides for joint training of specialists in the mineral resources sector. I think this is a very important and interesting area of interaction.
We will continue to help our African friends develop not only higher education, but also general and secondary vocational education, train teachers, mentors and technical staff for schools and colleges, and establish joint schools for which adapted methodological materials are already being developed based on a synthesis of Russian and African national educational programs.
We suggest exploring the possibilities of creating schools in Africa that teach subjects in Russian. I am confident that the implementation of such projects – the study of the Russian language, the introduction of high educational standards in our country-will lay the best foundation for further mutually beneficial and equal cooperation.
Next year, the international organization of the Russian language should start its activity, which will be open to all countries that love and want to use the Russian language, where they love and are interested in Russian culture. We invite our African partners to join us in this work.
A project has been launched in 28 African countries to create open education centers for teachers and educators of preschool, primary and secondary schools. To this end, we plan to significantly increase the number of African students enrolled in Russian pedagogical universities.
More than 10,000 Africans currently studying in Russia are being trained in medical specialties. Healthcare and epidemic control are an important area of Russian-African cooperation. Let me remind you that Russia was one of the first countries to come to the aid of Africa during the coronavirus pandemic: We sent millions of Russian tests to African countries free of charge, and together with South Africa, we conducted scientific research on new strains of the dangerous virus. In recent months alone, we have handed over two Russian mobile laboratories to our partners from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and we have continued equipping the Russian-Guinean infection research center in Kindia, where more than 20 diagnostic drugs have been developed. About 1.5 thousand local specialists have been trained in Russian methods of infection prevention and control. A joint center for infection research in Burundi has also been established.
A large-scale Russian program of assistance to Africa to fight infections has been prepared, calculated until 2026, for which 1.2 billion rubles have been allocated. Within its framework, 10 mobile laboratories will be delivered to the countries of the continent, hundreds of specialists will be trained, and joint research will be conducted.
Every year there are more youth exchanges between Russia and Africa. Representatives of African countries annually participate in the program of short-term study trips to our country of young representatives of political, public, scientific, and business circles within the framework of the New Generation program. Contacts are also maintained with those Africans who received education in Russia. Even now, I was very pleased to communicate with my colleagues during the previous meeting, who are fluent in Russian.
I would like to take this opportunity to invite young African friends to come to our country, to Sochi, in March 2024, for the World Youth Festival. This is a large-scale forum that will bring together young people from all over the world. More than 20 thousand representatives from more than 180 countries are expected to participate.
We also attach great importance to cooperation in the field of physical culture and sports. We are ready to further develop relations with the sports federations of African countries. We propose to step up cooperation between Russian and African sports universities, implement university exchanges, volunteer programs, and hold joint matches in various sports between educational institutions and universities. We invite athletes from Africa to take part in the international University Sports Festival in Yekaterinburg in the Urals, Russia, in August, as well as in the "Games of the Future", which will be held in February-March 2024 in Kazan, and represent a unique combination of dynamic sports disciplines with the most popular video games and technological devices. The new competition format is designed to combine classic and innovative sports.
The Russian side is also committed to developing cooperation with African countries and the African continent in the field of mass communications, including in the areas of content exchange, organizing educational courses for media professionals and students, and conducting experimental events. Work is already underway to open representative offices of leading Russian media outlets in Africa: the TASS news agency, Rossiya Segodnya, RT, VGTRK, and Rossiyskaya Gazeta. We propose to work towards creating a common information space between Russia and Africa, within which objective, unbiased information about current events in the world will be broadcast to Russian and African audiences.
In conclusion, I would like to emphasize once again that Russia is sincerely interested in further developing and deepening trade, economic and humanitarian cooperation with all African countries. I am confident that the work of this forum and the thematic meetings, round tables, and negotiations held within its framework will certainly be useful and will contribute to the achievement of all our common goals.
Thank you most for your patience and attention. Thank you.
Irina Abramova: Thank you very much, Mr. President.
Your speech clearly defined the prospects, essence and main directions of Russian-African cooperation in the context of the transformation of the world order.
I think that the participants of our forum have received answers to the most pressing issues that concern both Russia and Africa today. Cooperation between equal and sovereign states is always a two-way road, and it is always extremely important for us, the Russians, to know the opinion of our African partners on the situation in the world and on the prospects for our cooperation.
I have the honour to give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Assoumani, Chairman of the African Union and President of the Union of the Comoros.
:(as translated)But.Assoumani Your Excellency Mr. President of the Russian Federation, Dear Mr. Putin,
Your Excellencies, distinguished Heads of State and Government of the African Union,
Dear Mr. Moussa Faki [Mahamat], Chairman of the African Union Commission,
Dear representatives of the authorities of the Russian Federation and the city of St. Petersburg, Dear participants,
It is a great honor for me today to convey the African Union's greetings to the second Russian-African summit in St. Petersburg. I am very happy today to have the opportunity to speak on behalf of our organization on some important topics for Africa, as well as to talk about our partnership with Russia, a world power that is actively present on our continent.
First of all, let me warmly thank the authorities of the Russian Federation, both on my own behalf and on behalf of the African Union, for the warm welcome we received in the wonderful city of St. Petersburg and for organizing this event. We are in Northern Venice: this beautiful city shows how great the Russian genius is and how great the creator of this city, Peter the Great, was. The second Russia ‒ Africa summit is being held here today, and we are talking about our common history.
Your Excellency, Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
The multipolar world of the twenty-first century cannot close on itself. That is why Africa wants to establish a fair and mutually beneficial partnership with the whole world. Economically, in particular, Africa, where 3.8 billion people will live by the end of the century, wants to establish close cooperation with a large number of partners, both bilaterally and multilaterally. Given the abundance of our human and natural resources, the dynamics of our continent, and the workforce that we have, we look forward to working closely together.
It is obvious to us that Russia occupies a special place in partnership with us, and we are ready to work in cooperation with Russia on all major topics.
Today's forum comes at a special time for Africa. As you know, in order to integrate us and promote our cooperation, a plan for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area until 2063 was adopted at the Niamey summit in July 2019. We are also developing the Africa agenda for the period up to 2063.
All of these projects should lead to new opportunities for both local and international businesses that are willing to invest in Africa. To achieve these goals, our partners must, of course, adapt their activities to the specific features of our continent, to the goals outlined in the 2063 agenda, to the problems of our infrastructure, industrialization processes, as well as to the energy problems of our continent. These are the main points and areas in which we can actively cooperate with Russia.
Today, it is very important to reorient our mutual relations in order to build a mutually beneficial partnership and diversify our economy, especially since we now mainly export raw materials. But we are going through a period of industrialization and are working to create sustainable skilled jobs. This is very important for our young people. That is why it is so important to strengthen public-private partnership in the Russian-African context, and this will allow a wide variety of participants in the process to get involved in it.
Of course, the African Union in this sense remains the most important tool for developing economic diversification, especially in the most promising sectors, such as agriculture, health, education, energy and others. At the same time, African businesses need support to increase productivity and expand into new markets.
80 percent of our GDP is made up of the raw agricultural sector. This is a sector where partnership and our new projects can develop. Both the private and public sectors in our countries will participate equally in mutually beneficial partnership.
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Excellencies,
Today we are also working on investing in new digital technologies that will create a new basis for our cooperation. Today, the digital revolution is taking place on our continent, and this will allow us to participate in a new stage of the industrial revolution, to solve our economic and social problems in the best possible way.
It is very important for us to quickly join the new industrial revolution, the digital revolution, and in this regard, it is very important to pay attention to education and training of specialists, especially our young people, who should be involved in effective work both in the private and public sectors and in financial organizations.
Our common goal, ladies and gentlemen, is to identify the main directions for strengthening our cooperation for the benefit of our peoples. In this regard, let me focus on the current problem-the supply of grain. This is the most important and vital issue for us.
The suspension of the grain deal may have some impact on our cooperation. Russia is working closely with us and is doing a lot to solve grain and food problems. More than 1.9 million tons were delivered from Russia, and the amount of deliveries exceeded three billion dollars.
Today, I would like to take this podium, this opportunity, to confirm the importance of this topic for us. We talked about this in 2019.
The Ukrainian crisis is having a serious impact on the situation, so resolving this crisis will save a large number of lives of people who depend on food supplies. Our continent is currently experiencing a serious increase in food prices, so we appeal to all participants in the process with a big request: to facilitate the delivery of both Ukrainian and Russian grain to our countries.
We are ready to cooperate with Russia in all sectors and areas to ensure security measures on the continent. We are doing everything possible to ensure that peace and security exist on our continent. But, of course, a variety of events are taking place today. You know what happened in Niger the other day. We strongly condemn the events in Niger and demand the immediate release of the President of the Republic of Niger and his family.
Today it is necessary to fight for a sustainable peace between Russia and Ukraine, and this is exactly the message that the African Union and I personally are making today. It was with this idea in mind that we went to see President Zelensky in Kiev. We appeal to the President of Russia, Mr. Putin. We are confident that our call for peace will be heard, as humanity needs it today. On behalf of the African Union, I once again call for peaceful coexistence between Russia and Ukraine, between fraternal peoples, and between neighboring peoples. And I am grateful that you will hear our message, our appeal.
Today we are fighting for a multilateral, multipolar world. We Africans are particularly well aware that today the international system must be reformed, in particular the UN system. Therefore, Africa, of course, has the right to actively participate in decision-making, in particular among the permanent members of the Security Council, and I, like my colleague who will take up my post in the future, will work on this.
I would like to hear applause in this Hall right now, and I hope that the great cause of promoting Africa on the international stage will be supported by the Russian Federation.
Among the G20 countries, Africa's active participation is also needed. Without this format, international activity is impossible today. Such an expansion of the African presence in the G20 is very important today.
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today's summit provides us with an opportunity to better understand and understand what we must do together to expand investment, make the most of it, and develop our potential.
I would like today's forum to formulate operational recommendations, in particular for the development of public-private partnership (PPP) between Russia and Africa. Our continent believes in the future of Russian-African cooperation based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.
Today's summit will certainly allow us to move forward on this path ‒ towards peace and prosperity for Russia and Africa in the interests of our peoples.
Thanks for attention.
Irina Abramova: Thank you very much, Mr. President.
Your speech showed that the points of view of Russia and Africa on the situation in the world and on the new opportunities that are opening up in our relations are very close, and on some points they coincide.
I would like to say that the difference between the second Russia – Africa forum is that it is not only economic, but also humanitarian. This means that both Russia and Africa are concerned not only with material values, but also with spiritual ones.
I give the floor to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
Patriarch Kirill: Your Excellency, highly respected Vladimir Vladimirovich, President of the Russian Federation, Your Excellency the distinguished Mr. Azali Assoumani, President of the Union of the Comoros, Distinguished Heads and dignitaries of African countries!
I cordially welcome all of you and thank you for inviting me to speak at such an important meeting dedicated to the development of cooperation between Russia and the States of the African continent.
This year's forum is a truly remarkable event in international life, which is of great political, economic and, I would also say, spiritual and cultural significance.
Despite the geographical distance, the peoples of our countries have good relations. The secret of such friendship is quite simple: Russia has never considered the African continent as a space for profit or as an object for colonization, has never spoken to the peoples of Africa in an arrogant tone, from a position of superiority and strength. In difficult historical moments, we have always tried to show solidarity and mutual assistance. During the difficult and responsible time of the struggle for independence and for defining the countries of Africa, Russia tried to actively support these peoples, and then worked together with them to create a peaceful life and develop many infrastructure projects. It is remarkable that this cooperation continues today.
The good feelings that connect us are time-tested. Their solid foundation is, among other things, a shared understanding of the fundamental foundations of human life and a deep commitment to enduring moral values. Loyalty to tradition, the perception of the family as a union of men and women, love and respect for their history, the pursuit of good and justice – these important civilizational principles are of crucial importance for the Russian people and for the inhabitants of Africa, who also value their spiritual and cultural identity. These principles are so important to us that we are ready to defend and defend them.
Sometimes they have to be defended in very difficult conditions. The world has changed beyond recognition in recent decades. I am not talking so much about the political map, economic processes or technological progress, but rather about the dangerous spiritual and moral climate that is actively and even aggressively shaped by the efforts of many Western countries. Moral relativism, the cult of consumption, freedom falsely understood as permissiveness, the destruction of the institution of the traditional family – all this is only an incomplete list of the troubles that the system of values, or rather anti-values, imposed by certain forces in the West, carries, since their adoption inevitably leads humanity to deep cultural and spiritual degradation.
Thank God, this danger is well understood not only in Russia, where laws are being passed to protect society from propaganda of alien culture and morally unhealthy phenomena, but also in African countries.
I know that, despite enormous pressure, the vast majority of African countries categorically reject the legalization at the legislative level of so-called same-sex unions, euthanasia and other religious sinful phenomena. All this, of course, brings our positions closer together, we proceed from the same basic principles, and therefore we are always happy when we meet with like-minded people.
It is remarkable that Africa's role in international relations is growing. A striking example is the peacekeeping initiatives of African countries, their active participation in solving continental and global problems. I am confident that Russia and Africa together can offer the world a constructive model of honest and just relations between our peoples.
Unfortunately, not everyone in the international arena today is ready to always conduct an equal dialogue. A number of Western states still do not let go of their colonial past, and they continue to think and act according to this pattern. I hope that the development of good relations between Russia and African countries will further strengthen traditional moral values in the world.
Attempts to incite inter-religious hatred are another criminal tool of modern politics. I note with sorrow that these phenomena have become dangerously widespread on the African continent. Unfortunately, Christians are the most persecuted. Taking this opportunity, as the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, it is with pain in my heart that I fervently call on all those who have the opportunity and real power to influence this tragic situation, to do everything possible, including to protect the persecuted Christians on the African continent.
The sad experience of recent decades and the history of many regional conflicts show that provocations on religious grounds are often initiated and financed by those who want to weaken the country from within and act according to the well-known "divide and rule" principle.
It is extremely important to avoid inciting hatred on religious grounds. This is all the more relevant given the multi-confessional and multi-ethnic nature of most African countries.
Cultural and national diversity is the wealth of any country, which must be carefully preserved. I believe that Russia is ready to share its centuries-old experience in this area.
More than a hundred nationalities live in our country, and representatives of different religions and confessions live in harmony: Orthodox Christians, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Jews, and Buddhists. We don't just live side by side for centuries, we freely practice our faith and cooperate in educational, humanitarian, peacemaking, social and other spheres. And as tools, we have created appropriate organizations, within which we not only consult with each other, but also develop a certain program of common actions.
As for the Russian Orthodox Church, it is aware of its special responsibility for the destinies of its historical peoples and strives to do everything possible to instill in people loyalty to the truth of God, respect for traditions and love for their country.
Recently, the Orthodox Church, including responding to the request of Orthodox believers in Africa, for the sake of spiritual care of Orthodox people on this continent, and taking into account the need for our activities in Africa, created the exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church on the African continent.
At the same time, the presence of the Russian Orthodox Church in Africa is not an unprecedented innovation. Russian parishes began to appear on the continent in the XIX century and early XX century. So, in Abyssinia, present-day Ethiopia, in 1889 and in 1896, Russian churches were built. The permanent parish of the Russian Orthodox Church in Egypt was established in 1914. After the revolution in Russia, due to the beginning of the outflow of refugees from our country, parishes in Africa began to open even more. In 1920, a church in Tunis was consecrated, in 1922 a parish was established in Algeria, in 1927 Russian Orthodox parishes were opened in Morocco, and in 1998 I had the opportunity to consecrate the first Russian church in the Republic of South Africa.
As Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, and later as Patriarch, I visited 18 countries on the African continent from 1971 to 2016: in the north, in the south, in the east, in the west and in the center.
I consider my meeting with Mr. Nelson Mandela at his home in Soweto in November 1990 to be particularly important. That year, on February 11, he was released from a long prison sentence, and I think I was the first foreigner he received in his home. Mr. Mandela asked me to convey his gratitude to the Soviet authorities for their decisive assistance in providing support and supplies, including everything necessary, to fight the apartheid regime. As you know, in 1904, Mr. Mandela became President of the Republic of South Africa. I cherish the kindest memory of this man, who really did so much to liberate the world in general from the fact that apartheid is perceived as something that can be put up with.
Unfortunately, in 2019, the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Patriarch Theodore, of course, under external pressure, decided to recognize the schismatic church group in Ukraine. These sad circumstances, I repeat once again, prompted the Russian Orthodox Church to create the Patriarchal Exarchate of Africa in December 2021.
We thought that the Patriarch of Alexandria, the Greek Patriarch, could also represent the entire Orthodox Church on the African continent, but at the behest of certain Western forces, he went to create this new schism in Orthodoxy. Of course, we had to respond to this act. Last but certainly not least, we made a decision to organize the life of Orthodox churches on the African continent.
Among the Africans there are not only Russian people who live in these places, but also local people who profess Orthodoxy and today belong to our church. Over the past year and a half, the Patriarchal Exarchate of Africa has opened more than 200 parishes in 25 African countries. In addition to the development of the liturgical life, many humanitarian and educational projects were launched, in particular, the translation of books into local languages and much more.
The establishment and active activity of the exarchate aroused great interest in the Russian Orthodox Church on the part of Africans. For many, it is valuable that we are a church that carefully preserves the apostolic succession and teaching in the sacraments and in spiritual experience, a church that does not distort the God-taught norms of morality in favor of fashionable ideological trends.
By developing our pastoral activities, we strive to contribute to strengthening relations between the Russian Church, Russia and Africa and improve the quality of people's lives. New schools, water wells, electrical substations, hospitals and cultural centers are being created in the places where our parishes are being created.
We are determined to work constructively with other religious organizations in Africa. Our parishes are registered in full compliance with the laws of the countries where they are established. I would especially like to thank the leaders of these countries for this. The Moscow Patriarchate is open to any initiatives aimed at the benefit of people, at creating peace and helping those in need.
Addressing the people of the African continent with love and respect, I invoke God's blessing on all of you. May the Lord grant peace and prosperity to the peoples of your countries, and wisdom, patience, and strength of strength to the States and leaders of your peoples. I hope that this forum will serve to further develop cooperation between our peoples in all spheres of public life.
Thank you for your attention and I wish you success in your work.
Irina Abramova: Thank you very much, Your Holiness, for your speech, in which you gave an in-depth analysis of the humanitarian component of our cooperation and emphasized the importance of interreligious dialogue in addressing the challenges of humanitarian development.
Our next speaker came to St. Petersburg from the Western Hemisphere, a country that is historically and culturally closely connected with the African continent. I invite Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil from 2011 to 2016, to the podium. On March 24, 2023, Dilma Rousseff was unanimously elected head of the New BRICS Development Bank.
:(as translated)D.Rousseff Your Excellency Mr. President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, Your Excellency President of the Union of the Comoros and President of the African Union, Dear Heads of State and Government, Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to start by thanking you for this initiative between the Russian Federation and African countries. Without a doubt, this is a new platform that will allow us to build a more multilateral and multipolar world.
We know that today the world is facing many crises, and in this situation, instability has become the norm. We have gone through a crisis related to the coronavirus, which has affected developing countries very much. We have a debt crisis, there is protectionism, which we see from many Western countries. We are facing political and climate crises.
In this regard, developing countries and economies have become increasingly important players in the international arena. Together, the BRICS countries alone, for example, represent more than 40 percent of the world's population and account for more than a quarter of global GDP. The importance of the economies of these countries is difficult to overestimate, it is incomparable with the countries that are part of the "big Seven".
We know that protectionist policies, which are always implemented on one side, affect developing countries much more strongly. The use of sanctions for political purposes and attempts to expand the jurisdiction of one country outside its territory does not solve any problem, but, on the contrary, only worsens existing problems, as it becomes noticeable. We can see this in all the consequences, including food security, and we can also see it in this forum, which discusses not only economic, but also humanitarian issues.
The BRICS Bank ‒ the New BRICS Development Bank-which now includes Egypt, Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates, as well as regional development banks, supports the development initiatives of developing countries on all continents. They can count on agreements on the use of national currencies in trade operations. This is a strategic tool in finding a balance of power and building a more just world and a new multipolar and multilateral world order.
The new BRICS Bank was created just eight years ago, in 2014, during the BRICS summit in Fortaleza. I had the honor to be present at the creation of this bank together with President Putin. Since this bank was created by the will of the five BRICS countries, it is often referred to as the BRICS Bank, but it has already grown into something more and is not limited to these countries.
The NDB aims to accumulate resources to support logistics and infrastructure projects in different countries, to promote the development of energy and social infrastructure between them: schools, universities, medical institutions – as well as digital infrastructure. We know that the fourth revolution ‒ technological and industrial-will require changes from emerging economies: they must participate in a new form, in a new way of production. Therefore, we do not agree to be just a platform for consuming the products of large high-tech companies.
We pay great attention to developing the infrastructure of developing countries and participating in the economies of developing countries. For us, for the New Development Bank, this is one of the main tasks. We share the idea that our work should be aimed at the sustainable development and prosperity of our peoples, eliminating the threat of poverty and hunger. We must move away from the problems of hunger in our countries.
We work in the spirit of true multilateralism. The Bank works to share the existing experience and best practices of sustainable development that have been developed by our governments.
It is important to note here that the NBR does not depend on external factors when making and granting its loans. We know that developing countries are dependent on other factors and have suffered for decades. We want to expand the impact that the New BRICS Development Bank has on countries. We want to expand our activities and strengthen the bank as a platform on which countries of the global south can develop. In this respect, developing countries on all continents, especially in Africa, Latin America and Asia, are our strategic partners. We are now expanding the number of our shareholders and partnerships, but we are also expanding the importance of our projects that we finance. We want to strengthen our influence in the regions.
We would like to work closer and more closely with all the countries that are part of the bank. We would like to look for partnerships with countries and not just work with projects. We also want to work with the private sector on the most significant projects.
We would also like to receive our income in different markets and in different currencies ‒ this is important. The new development bank will receive money in different markets and in different currencies of all countries that are included in the concept of the developing world, not only in dollars and euros. We would like to increase the number of transactions in national currencies in order to strengthen the markets of the countries that are members of the New Development Bank. We consider it important to increase the share of private investment. We believe that our participants should not suffer from problems that may arise in Western markets, so we are developing our calculations.
We would like to create different sources of income so that developing countries can achieve stability. At the moment, we know that the use of the national currency accounts for about 20 percent of all banking operations. About one-third of all banking transactions in China are conducted in the national currency.
Our program for 2022-2026 has about 30 percent participation in national currencies. I would like to draw particular attention to the fact that the use of national currencies is one of our priorities in building a new architecture of financial relations in the world. We are not talking about replacing the currencies used, we are talking about expanding the currencies used and the existing financial infrastructure.
Latin American, African, and Asian countries often suffer from negative economic consequences that they cannot control, such as higher interest rates. We no longer want to suffer from these changes, numbers that we cannot control, but only suffer from their consequences.
The third important issue for the New Development Bank is socio-economic development and increased social inclusion. We do not consider it necessary to impose our vision on each country, we perceive different development projects and the sovereign path of each state. The New Development Bank wants to support projects that help smooth out the social gap and improve the socio-economic level of each country.
We also believe that it is important to create infrastructure projects that would contribute to the implementation of this goal. The Bank has already approved 98 projects in its member countries, totaling about $ 35 billion.
We cooperate with various regional banks. We cooperate with the African Export-Import Bank and other banks that work in the field of economic and social development. We also work with private investors and believe that our joint work will help us implement infrastructure and logistics projects aimed at improving the living standards of the participating countries.
I am confident that the New BRICS Development Bank and all its member countries will continue to become increasingly important players in the international arena, and the Bank will become a new platform. In this context, this summit meets the challenges of the time and is in line with the issues facing our bank, contributing to the achievement of a multilateral world for the benefit of developing countries.
Now our world is constantly changing and faces different threats. Together, we can better respond to new challenges. Without peace, there will be no stability, and without stability, there will be no development, including sustainable development. Without sustainable development, the world will not reach any agreements so that we can actually improve our lives and reach agreements that would contribute to the enrichment of people and our planet.
Thank you very much.
Irina Abramova: Thank you very much, dear Mrs. Rousseff, for your speech, which makes it clear that both Russia and Africa have many supporters on different continents.
The next participant of the plenary session is on this stage for the second time. He took part in the plenary session of the economic forum [Russia ‒ Africa] in Sochi [in 2019], and this is no coincidence. The issue of financial support for Russian-African cooperation is one of the key issues today.
I invite Mr. Benedict Okey Oram, President of the African Export-Import Bank, to take the podium.
Boris Orama: Your Excellency Mr. Putin, President of the Russian Federation,
Your Excellency Mr. Azali Assoumani, President of the Union of the Comoros and Chairman of the African Union,
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Excellencies from African States,
Your Excellency Mr. Mahamat, Chairman of the African Union Commission,
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great honor and pleasure for me to have the opportunity to address you at the Russia ‒ Africa 2023 Economic Forum.
I would like to thank His Excellency Vladimir Putin, his Government and the people of Russia for once again demonstrating the strength and cooperation between the Russian people and the peoples of African countries, even at a time when the world is facing unprecedented challenges.
Your Excellency, When we met in Sochi in 2019 as part of the first Russia ‒ Africa summit, we expressed our commitment to expanding trade and investment ties between Russia and Africa. We agreed that we will take the socio-economic relations between our countries to a new level, based on the fact that we worked together in the 1950s, when the African continent was striving for independence.
Our trade turnover is expected to reach $ 40 billion by 2026.
Our trade turnover now stands at $ 20 billion. All this is happening despite the coronavirus pandemic and despite all the difficulties we face in the international arena.
Thanks to the strong partnership between Afreximbank and the Russian Export Center, we aim to double our trade turnover over the next four years, and we believe that this goal is quite achievable. Challenges related to ensuring global food security have highlighted Russia's key role in ensuring food security in Africa. To a large extent, African economies depend on the supply of Russian fertilizers, and a large amount of fertilizers that we import comes from Russia.
The priority of Afreximbank and the African member States is to preserve and maintain trade flows. We are living through a time of unprecedented global instability. Afreximbank works with the African Union Commission, the UN system and its Russian partners to enable us to use the e-commerce platform, which serves to ensure mutual settlements in any currency in our mutual interests and in a transparent manner. Various services are provided that provide payment services within this platform. In addition, other banks have the opportunity to participate in joint work. We use this platform to meet the needs of African countries for fertilizers and grain.
Three billion US dollars were allocated to support trade. Three billion dollars is a loan that was allocated for this purpose in order to revive business, and so that we can meet the needs of the African continent. We will strive to develop our cooperation with our Russian partners, and we will use this platform to facilitate the supply of grain and fertilizers.
Every day, 300 million Africans suffer from hunger, and it is very important that we make every effort to ensure full sovereignty. We need to ensure complete food security ‒ this is one of our priorities.
Afreximbank and the Russian Export Center cooperate to ensure cooperation in other key areas. The focus is on activities that contribute to the integration of the African economy and, above all, the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
In order to support investment in the agricultural sector, industrial parks are being created, critical infrastructure facilities are being developed, and interaction in the healthcare system is being developed. Afreximbank will be able to support African investors who would like to take advantage of opportunities and enter the Russian market. That is why we welcome Russian investment in Africa. At the same time, we hope that African investors will pay attention to Russia, because investments can be made in both directions, and this will contribute to the revival of trade and economic relations between our countries.
Your Excellency, By the end of this second summit, I hope that Russia and Africa will be able to achieve an even greater sense of solidarity and provide more reliable routes for the supply of fertilizers and cereals, while today supply chains have been disrupted. We hope that our trade will continue. I was very happy to hear President Putin talk about new trade routes, as they will help facilitate trade supplies to our continent.
In addition, I hope that we will be able to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Area together.
Less than 20 years ago, Russia was a net importer of food products. Today, Russia accounts for 20 percent of global grain exports.
We hope that the new partnership that we are building with Russia, particularly in the framework of this summit, will allow Africa to achieve the same goals in a very short time.
Thank you for your attention.
Irina Abramova: Dear Mr. Orama, I thank you and all the participants in the plenary session for their presentations, which set out the strategic directions for our future discussions.
Dear participants and guests!
The plenary session is declared closed. I wish you all successful and, most importantly, productive work.
Quite a long program of events, and that was the opening day. I expect the intensity of events to be very similar tomorrow. None of the sideline meetings were included and those are often quite important. While reading what happened during these events, the music of African jazz giant Hugh Masekela occupied the background, particularly his piece dedicated to all those who work in the mines and his Child of Nature dedicated to his wife. For those whose curiosity about Africa is spurred by the Summit and Africa’s potential, UNESCO has published an eight and soon to become an eleven volume series about Africa’s history. The first eight volumes can be freely downloaded at South African History Online by clicking onto each individual volume then selecting download. The site is slow, so patience is required. And engaging in all this pushed the Biden Crime Family out of my mind.
Like what you’ve been reading at Karlof1’s Substack? Then please consider subscribing and choosing to make a monthly/yearly pledge to enable my efforts in this challenging realm. Thank You!