Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Leaders of Delegations Participating in Russia–Africa Summit Plant Trees in Sochi and Surpass 30 Million Seedlings Planted as Part of ‘Save the Forest’ Campaign

A delegation of participants in the Russia–Africa Summit and the Russia–Africa Economic Forum led by Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Dmitry Kobylkin planted coniferous tree seedlings at the Southern Cultures Arboretum in Sochi on 23 October and, in doing so, reached the planned goal of planting 30 million seedlings as part of the ‘Save the Forest’ national campaign.

The event was part of an ambitious nationwide reforestation campaign launched by the Ministry of Natural Resources in September. “It’s very symbolic that we opened the first international Russia–Africa Summit by planting trees at the park in Sochi. The campaign will continue for another week and a half, which means that 30 million will not be the final figure”, Kobylkin said.

The landmark event laid the foundation for the revival of Russian–African relations and demonstrated that such issues as ecology, conservation, and the restoration of natural wealth are the same for all countries and peoples. “The problem of forest conservation and restoration is not only particularly acute in Russia, but throughout the world. I believe that the successful implementation of our ‘Save the Forest’ project can and should be built upon internationally. I am passing on the symbolic baton of reforestation to our African friends”, Kobylkin said.

The ‘Save the Forest’ campaign, which was initiated by the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources, is being held to support the regions most affected by forest fires in the summer. To date, more than three million Russians have provided support for the campaign. The tree planting at Southern Cultures Arboretum was attended by President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Acting President of Mauritius Barlen Vyapoory, President of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and other official representatives of the delegations of countries participating in the Forum.

The Southern Cultures Arboretum is located in Sochi’s Adler District, not far from Olympic Park, where the events of the Russia–Africa Economic Forum and Summit are being held. The seedlings were grown in the Arboretum’s greenhouses and are well adapted to the climatic conditions of the region. They were planted in the lower part of the complex where coniferous and evergreen trees with massive crowns are traditionally grown.

Over time, the fir trees planted by the Summit delegates will harmoniously blend into the landscape architecture of the Arboretum, which was founded more than 100 years ago.

The event as part of the ‘Save the Forest’ campaign kicked off the programme of the Russia–Africa Summit, which is being co-chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin and President of the Arab Republic of Egypt and African Union Chairman Abdelfattah Al-Sisi. The Summit will now move on to the business component, which is devoted to prospects for Russia’s diversified relations with African countries, and then the first Russia–Africa Economic Forum.

Kobylkin’s itinerary for today includes participation in the plenary session ‘Russia and Africa: Uncovering the Potential for Cooperation’, the session ‘Russian–African Collaboration in the Diamond Industry’, and a series of working meetings with colleagues and heads of state of African countries.

The Russia–Africa Summit and Economic Forum will take place on 23–24 October in Sochi at the Sirius Park of Science and Art. The events are being organized by the Roscongress Foundation, and the co-organizers of the Russia–Africa Economic Forum are Russian Export Center and Afreximbank.

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