The African-Russian Summit strengthens the African continent's ties with Russia

Russia will open an industrial zone in Egypt (Photo by Adobe)

Many gains were achieved from the African-Russian Summit for Egypt and the rest of Africa, writes Ahmad Abdel-Rahman in Egypt.

The most important gains from the African-Russian Summit were the strengthening of projects in Egypt and a breakthrough in the grain crisis, increasing the volume of foreign exchange, military cooperation to defeat terrorism, and writing off the continent's debts.

The African continent and Egypt showed they had achieved many gains, and they won even more, at the African-Russian summit, which was held on 27 and 28 July 2023 in St Petersburg. The summit was attended by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and several leaders from the continent, as well as representatives from 49 countries, heads of the African Union Commission, and the African Bank for Import and Export.

The second African-Russian summit came four years after the first summit, which was held in 2019 in the Russian city of Sochi. At the St. Petersburg summit, the African continent showed the gains it had achieved, at a time when most of the countries of the continent had suffered from the negative repercussions of the Russian-Ukrainian war that have led to the rise in food and fertilizer prices.

A breakthrough in the grain and fertilizer crisis

The first gain made by the countries of the African continent was a breakthrough in the grain crisis. This crisis erupted between the largest suppliers of wheat and grain in the world, Russia and Ukraine. As well as the war, there have been the repercussions of the Russian withdrawal from the Ukrainian grain deal. This had negative effects on the African countries most in need.

Russia president Vladimir Putin promised the African leaders during the summit that their countries would overcome these repercussions and stressed that Russia is able to compensate Africa for the Ukrainian grain, by exporting 50,000 tons of grain to Africa. "Russia is able to replace Ukraine's grain exports to Africa, and it will be ready to start supplying grain for free to six countries on the continent within three or four months, namely Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Mali, Somalia, the Central African Republic and Eritrea," Putin said. He also indicated that Russia would increase grain supplies, adding: "We will provide food supplies under the UN program; we will supply 50,000 tons to each of the six African countries for free. We will support the countries in agricultural technologies."

Promoting Russian projects in Egypt at Dabaa station and the Suez Canal

Russian projects in Egypt, in the Dabaa station and the Suez Canal, were also among the gains Egypt won from the summit. The Russian president spoke about a group of mega projects that Russia is already implementing in Egypt, on top of which is the nuclear reactor in the Egyptian Dabaa region. "In the near future in Egypt in the Suez Canal area they will launch a Russian industrial zone, it is planned to distribute the goods produced there throughout Africa," Putin said.

Putin continued: "In Egypt, I spoke with President El-Sisi, and I hope that we will open a Russian industrial zone in the Suez Canal region in the near future. We expect that this year the first industrial production facilities will be established in the region, and in the future the goods produced will be exported throughout Africa." Putin also indicated that many Russian companies are working in the field of developing oil and gas fields in African countries, including Egypt and Algeria, and that the Russian company, Rosatom, is building a nuclear power plant in Egypt.

Increasing the volume of foreign exchange and strengthening military cooperation with Africa to defeat terrorism

One of the gains obtained by the African continent from the Russian-African summit is an increase and diversification of commercial exchange.

Another is Moscow's intention to strengthen its military cooperation with Africa to defeat terrorism. Putin confirmed this at the conclusion of the summit and said that Russia seeks to enhance military cooperation with Africa. He indicated that Russia would provide ammunition to some African countries for free to enhance security on the continent, and intends to train military personnel and officials of African security services in Russian training institutions. Putin also stressed that Moscow seeks to strengthen relations with Africa in various fields.

The Russian President also emphasized that the country would have provided assistance to Africa at the time of the pandemic, saying: "We transferred medical laboratories to Africa during the Corona pandemic, and wrote off debts worth USD23 billion, as well as allocating an additional USD90 million to African countries for debt relief."  Somali officials also said that Russia had exempted their country from debt of more than USD684 million, according to an agreement reached on the sidelines of the summit in St. Petersburg.

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Saturday, 30 September 2023