AECAS Webinar on Russian Business in Zimbabwe

The Association of Economic Cooperation with African States (AECAS) together with the Institute of African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia–Zimbabwe Business Council, Vi Holding with the support of the Roscongress Foundation held a webinar entitled ‘Russian Business in Zimbabwe’. 

At the meeting, experts and business representatives gave an analysis of Russian-Zimbabwean business contacts, interaction with authorities, building relations with business partners, and prospects for bilateral cooperation. 

Irina Abramova, Director of the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said Zimbabwe has potential interest and is open to Russian business. “The country is rich in minerals such as palladium, lithium, chromium, and many others. Exploration and mining of minerals is extremely important and very promising,” she said. 

Vladimir Shubin, Doctor of History, Chief Researcher at the Centre for Social and Political Studies of the Institute of African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, also drew attention to the importance of Russian-Zimbabwean business ties.  

Vasily Sidorov, a researcher at the Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences, noted in his speech that Zimbabwe is a state with great economic potential. “The country needs investment to develop its economy, and this could be an attractive factor for Russian business. The country has one of the most educated population on the continent. Zimbabwe is also considered one of the safest states in Africa,” he noted. 

Igor Higer, Vi Holding's representative in Africa and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Great Dyke Investments, spoke about the specifics of doing business in Africa. “The mistake many Russian companies make is that not everyone is ready to open a representative office in Africa. Getting to know government officials or potential partners can only give them an initial impression of the country and future projects. And for full-scale activities, you first need to open a full-fledged office, as it is done all over the world,” he shared.

According to Mr. Higer, Zimbabwe is attractive for investors, including those in agriculture. “Both Belarus and China, successfully supply agricultural machinery to Zimbabwe. But so far, Russian manufacturers have not shown any interest in it, while development of the agriculture has a significant potential in Zimbabwe, in my opinion," said Igor Higer. 

Kristina Dubinina, Strategic Marketing Director of Transmashholding, said that it was important for the company to develop business not only in the Republic of South Africa (RSA), where the railcar manufacturing plant operates, but also in other countries of the continent. “Zimbabwe could be an interesting destination in view of its proximity to South Africa, where Transmashholding already has production facilities. We are interested in a comprehensive strategic approach in Africa, and we are looking for synergies and points of development in this market, which is growing and full of potential," said Kristina Dubinina. She also noted that an important area for the company was the educational potential in the countries of potential presence, which enables faster and better localization of technologies and competencies.

Summing up the webinar, AECAS Executive Director Anna Belyaeva noted that the organization plans to continue to hold events that help expand business contacts between African and Russian companies, develop new substantive topics and implement them. “I would like to stress AECAS' readiness to support and promote existing and new business projects," concluded Anna Belyaeva. 

To participants in the Russia–Africa Economic Forum

Ladies and gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you at the opening of the Russia–Africa Economic Forum.

The rich history of relations between Africa and Russia has never seen an event of a similar scale. Members of government agencies and business community, and experts are meeting at this Forum to substantively discuss the current status and prospects of cooperation and a wide range of topical issues of the world economy.

Today, the countries of Africa are well on their way towards social, economic, scientific and technological development, and are playing a significant role in international affairs. They are strengthening mutually beneficial integration processes within the African Union and other regional and sub regional organizations across the continent.

In recent years, the traditionally friendly ties of partnership between Russia and Africa have gained new momentum, both at a bilateral level and in various multilateral formats. In addition to preserving our past experience of successful cooperation, we have also managed to make significant new steps forward. Trade and investment are growing dynamically, and new joint projects are under way in extractive industries, agriculture, healthcare, and education. Russian companies are ready to offer their scientific and technological developments to their African partners, and share their experience of upgrading energy, transport and communications infrastructures.

I hope that the Forum will help identify new areas and forms of cooperation, put forward promising joint initiatives that will bring the collaboration between Russia and Africa to a qualitatively new level and contribute to the development of our economies and the prosperity of our peoples.

I wish the Forum’s participants fruitful work and all the best.

Vladimir Putin

The Russia–Africa Summit, which is taking place in Sochi on 23–24 October 2019, encapsulates the historically friendly relations between the African continent and the Russian Federation. This Summit carries great significance as it is the first of its kind to emerge during a period of major global and international transformations. In response to the aspirations of the people it is representing, the Summit intends to build a comprehensive framework for expanding Russian–African relations into broader horizons of joint cooperation across different fields.

The African nations and Russia share a common understanding of international relations, based on the principles of respect for the rule of international law, equality, non-interference in the internal affairs of states, and the peaceful resolution of disputes. Both sides affirm their commitment to support multilateral actions to oppose new international threats, be they terrorism and extremism in all their forms, or declining growth rates. The two sides share a firm conviction regarding the importance of developing trade flows and supporting mutual investment in such a way as to ensure security, peace and development for the African and Russian people.

African countries have huge potential and opportunities that will allow them, once efforts to streamline their economies have been achieved, to emerge as real global players. In recent years, the nations of this continent have achieved major successes spanning the political, economic, social and administrative spheres. Africa has flourished in terms of growth over the past decade, reaching a continent-wide growth rate of 3.55% in 2018.

The African Union Summit, which was held in Niger in July 2019, continued the efforts of the African countries and saw the African Continental Free Trade Agreement come into force, along with its operational instruments. The agreement is one of the key objectives of Agenda 2063, an African development strategy that has been created to address the African people’s desire for prosperity and decent living standards.

These successes are opening up wide-ranging prospects for cooperation between African countries and the Russian Federation, and confirm the determination of African governments and their people to cooperate with multiple partners in order to establish mutually beneficial relations.

With this in mind, we express our hopes that the Russia–Africa Summit will help in the establishment of constructive strategic relations, based on partnership between two sides across various fields, and in the service of fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the African people and their friends in Russia.

President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Abdelfattah ALSISI