COVID-19: Is Africa Ready for Yet Another Standoff with the Epidemic?

The Roscongress Foundation presented its own study African Socio-political Context in the Midst of the Pandemic: Further Stabilization or a Powder Keg Effect?’ The analytic material covers the impact of the pandemic on the African continent and reflects key problems that African countries face as well as socio-political and economic consequences of COVID-19.

 

The study reviews in detail how the active spread of coronavirus is changing the contours of the African socio-political structure. Thus, the authors note that the restrictive measures related to the spread of COVID-19 in the African states call for mixed reactions from the citizens. There are issues of food safety and anti-Chinese and anti-Western sentiment is on the rise, while in some cases, the struggle against coronavirus is becoming political in nature. 

 

The study pays much attention to the practices of state management during the epidemic and the measures of state support for business in order to mitigate the negative impact of the spread of the pandemic. 

 

Alexandra Ogneva, Deputy CEO and Head of International and Regional Cooperation Directorate of the Roscongress Foundation, noted in making the presentation that despite the fragile healthcare systems, existing burden of disease, overpopulation in the cities, conflicts, as well as record levels of population migration, the African governments and societies often demonstrate a notable level of response, cooperation, and adaptation to the pandemic. Ever since the virus has crossed into the continent, regular bilateral and multilateral consultations among executive agencies of the African states have been focused on rethinking the multifaceted response procedures in the context of COVID-19.

According to   Anton Kobyakov, Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation, the major challenges facing practically all countries of the African continent right now require in-depth discussions and collaborative search for solutions. Taking into account the mutual interest of the parties and the efforts to expand and strengthen economic ties between Russia and the countries of Africa that were demonstrated at the first ever Russia-Africa Summit, we hope that further dialogue and sympathy with our African partners will be effective in this quite complicated context.

 

On the cusp of the annual consultation meeting between the ministers of foreign affairs from the African Union countries and the Russian Federation, Deputy Director of the Department of Africa at the Russian Foreign Ministry, Ambassador-at-Large and Head of the Secretariat of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum Oleg Ozerov emphasized the importance of the Russian-African dialogue during the COVID-19 pandemic when the restoration efforts in business, culture and human contacts are scarce, yet very needed. “At the time when the coronavirus pandemic is ravaging the world and the African continent, it is of utmost importance that Russia and African countries engage in a constructive conversation that addresses the consequences of the virus in the socio-economic field. Establishing the Secretariat of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum provides us with another channel of interaction with our African partners. We can use this opportunity to search for solutions across the entire range of aforementioned problems,” said Mr. Ozerov.  

 

Current practices of Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, relevant international organizations (Commission of the African Union, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and the UN World Food Programme), leading development institutions (McKinsey, KPMG, World Economic Forum, Brookings Institution), as well as of African information agencies were used in preparing the material. 

 

You can read the complete text of the study at the ‘Anticrisis Plan. Global Best Practices’ portal that the Roscongress Foundation has created in response to current COVID-19-related challenges, as well as in the Analytics section of the Foundation Information and Analytical System at ROSCONGRESS.ORG 

 

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