Pace of Russian and African Business Development to Be Discussed at Russia–Africa Economic Forum in Sochi

The session ‘Business Associations in Russia and Africa: A Starting Point for Long-Term Business Partnership’ will be held on 24 October as part of the business programme of the Russia–Africa Economic Forum and will focus on the work of special organizations that promote the development of trade and economic relations between Russia and African countries as well as special aspects of joint activities on this market.

There has been strong momentum recently in relations between representatives of the business communities in Russia and African countries. In particular, trade between Russia and Africa has skyrocketed by roughly thirteen-fold over the past two decades – from USD 5 billion in 2001 to more than USD 20 billion in 2018.

Despite the growth in statistical indicators, there are several obstacles to working on the African market. One problematic issue is how to get a concession or contract for the supply of goods and services in African countries. Securing such a document requires serious informational work and a large number of presentations of the merits of the products or services. This requires vast financial resources. In addition, a major barrier hindering greater cooperation between the Russian and African business communities is a lack of awareness regarding the current state of markets, along with trade and investment opportunities. There is also an insufficient level of trust towards potential partners.

To help small and medium-sized businesses establish the process of cooperation with African countries, business associations are being created to carry out the full cycle of preparatory work for entering the foreign market. These organizations can both serve the interests of entrepreneurs, and also guarantee their reliability and integrity

The session ‘Business Associations in Russia and Africa: A Starting Point for Long-Term Business Partnership’ will feature speeches by industry organizations and associations that actively collaborate with their Russian partners and play a significant role in the development of relations between Russia and African countries, including Jean-Marie Ackah, President of the General Confederation of Enterprises of the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire; Agostinho Vuma, President of the Confederation of Business Associations of the Republic of Mozambique; Josue Madjitoloum, President of the National Business Patronage Organization of the Republic of the Chad; Richard Ngatia, President of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Faman Toure, President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire; Melaku Ezezew, President of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association (ECCSA); and Johannes Sebulela, Founder and President of the African Entrepreneurs Council.

Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Sergey Katyrin commented on the importance of holding such a dialogue at the Forum: “Russian and African Entrepreneurs see considerable potential for the mutually beneficial development of trade, economic, industrial, and investment ties. The job of the chambers of commerce is to provide business with reliable business information, conduct marketing analysis of the market, arrange for participation in the exhibition, find a partner, verify its reliability, and much more. We understand the needs of business and help them. That is why entrepreneurs view business associations as a natural partner in making decisions on entering a new market, conducting specific negotiations, and promoting their interests. I am certain that the discussion held as part of this thematic session will help take cooperation between the business associations of Russia and Africa to a whole new level”.

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.

For a more detailed version of the Russia–Africa Economic Forum programme, please visit:

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