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Tue, 22 Oct 2019 07:54 - Updated Tue, 22 Oct 2019 07:54

Russia announces plan for new investments for Africa

Sochi - Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that his country plans to provide Africa with "a significant amount of investment" over the next five years, but has demanded the creation of conditions to materialize business.

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Russian President, Vladimir Putin

Photo: Pedro Parente

Vladimir Putin announced this during an interview with the Russian news agency TASS ahead of the Russia-Africa Summit, stating that "projects worth billions of dollars are currently being prepared and implemented with the participation of Russia."

"Both Russia and our companies have available substantial resources," Putin said, without specifying the expected overall amount to invest in this five-year period.

Speaking of the new perspectives of cooperation with African governments, the Russian leader also did not mention the new potential areas of investment.

According to Putin, in the framework of these investments, African partners must create the necessary conditions for conducting business and investment protection mechanisms, as well as providing a favorable climate for Russian investors.

Russia has been a major player on the continent since the era of the former Soviet Union, in which it supported independence movements and trained a generation of African leaders.

Under the strategic cooperation with this continent, Russian companies have investments in various fields such as oil and gas in Egypt and Nigeria, diamonds in Angola and metals in Guinea-Bissau and South Africa.

Russia has also used a combination of arms exports, security expertise and support for local governments to deepen its political and economic presence.

Moscow has been a remarkable supplier of low-cost, low-sophistication weapons to Africa for nearly 60 years and has always been interested in helping African states build energy facilities.
According to the President, military agreements are currently in place with more than 30 African countries, to which they provide various types of equipment.

"We will continue to contribute to the preparation of military personnel from the states of Africa and the training of African peacemakers," he said.
Vladimir Putin welcomed the evolution of cooperation with Africa in all these areas and said that today "Russian-African relations are on the rise".
He explained that with the international community, his country provides comprehensive assistance to Africa, including reducing the debt burden of states in the region.

In this context, he mentioned the implementation of "debt for development" programmes with various African countries as being in progress, as well as helping to combat infectious diseases (including Ebola hemorrhagic fever), overcoming the consequences of natural disasters and conflict resolution.

The statesman also pointed out that African human resources are being trained in Russian universities, free of charge or commercially, and are establishing cooperation between ministries of defence and police structures.

According to Putin, there are many more initiatives on the cooperation agenda, underlining that the development and consolidation of mutually beneficial ties with African countries and their integration associations is today among the priorities of Russian foreign policy.

As for the Russia-Africa summit, which will take place from 23 to 24 this month, he said he hoped African leaders, representatives of the business community, will bring Sochi a considerable package of proposals to expand bilateral relations.

Putin hopes that leaders of African regional organisations will share their views on how to develop multilateral cooperation together.

On foreign policy, he said that his country, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, defended the democratisation of international life, supported the fair aspiration of African states to pursue an independent, sovereign policy and to determine for themselves, without imposition, their future.

Due to the fact that Africa is increasingly becoming a continent of opportunity and has huge resources, economic attractiveness, significant investment and profit prospects, he said Russia will continue to work to strengthen cooperation with Africans, but in a healthy competition with other powers.

"We are ready not for the struggle for the redistribution of the continent's wealth, but for the competition for cooperation with Africa. The most important thing is for it to be civilized, to develop in the field of law. We have much to offer to African friends. This is particularly the case at the next Summit, "he said.

Vladimir Putin said that his country intends, with its African partners, to defend common economic interests, to protect them from unilateral sanctions, including by reducing the dollar's share of mutual transactions and transitioning to other currencies.

Regarding the granting of credits, he explained that these have today the market nature.

He underlined that Russia has contributed to international assistance programmes for Africa under the UN Development Programme, the World Health Organisation, the World Food Programme and the International Civil Protection Organisation.

On regional security, the Russian President reaffirmed his country's support in resolving conflicts in Africa, where unstable regions continue, unresolved intra-national and ethnic conflicts, serious political and economic and social crises, numerous terrorist organisations, including Daesh , Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab, very active in North Africa, the Sahel and Sahara area, Lake Chad region and the Horn of Africa.

"We will continue to expand the network of contacts between the special services and police structures of Russia and the countries of Africa in the fight against terrorism, organised crime, drug trafficking, money laundering, illegal migration and piracy," concluded the Russian head of State.

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