On the first meeting of the Scientific Council under the Secretariat of the Russia–Africa Partnership Forum

On 18 November 2020 the Scientific Council (SC) under the Secretariat of the Russia–Africa Partnership Forum held its first meetings. Irina Abramova, Head of the SC, Director, Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Corresponding Member, Russian Academy of Sciences, chaired the meeting with 12 of 15 members attending. 

In the course of her speech, Irina Abramova outlined the priorities of the SC’s activities, which included the following: scientific substantiation of Russia’s policy on the African continent in cooperation with government authorities providing assistance to economic operators; deepening and expanding Russian-African scientific cooperation; development of educational cooperation; popularization of the African continent and Africanism.

Additionally, the SC will take part in the preparations for the upcoming Russia – Africa Summit and Economic Forum.

Irina Abramova mentioned such areas as agriculture, medicine, education, infrastructure and communications (including transport and ICT), environmental protection, and human capital as most promising for Russian-African cooperation.

During the presentations and discussions the participants of the meeting repeatedly emphasized the following points: the expediency of establishing a think tank under the auspices of the Council (with the most active participation of the Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Roscongress Foundation); the think tank will take part in shaping the agenda for relations with the African continent; the fundamental importance of Russian graduates in maintaining and strengthening Russian-African relations, particularly in the area of industrial and humanitarian cooperation; the relevance of cooperation in combating various illnesses, primarily infectious and viral diseases prevalent in the African states; the need to strengthen the relationships between Russia and Africa; the significant potential for cooperation in the field of agriculture (breeding, seed production and animal husbandry); the need to popularize the research of African specialists in Russia; the creation of a register of Russian and African structures interested in cooperation using the information resources of the Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences; as well as the interfacing of interests of the EAEC and African states.

In the materials sent to the Secretariat of the SC, Grigory Velikykh, Deputy CEO for Expert and Analytical Work of the Roscongress Foundation, noted the expediency of creating a brain trust under the auspices of the Council, designed to form an agenda for relations with the African continent. According to the Council member, the leading role could be played by the Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences, while the Roscongress Foundation will provide all possible assistance, including support in attracting potential partners from Russian and foreign business structures. In addition, Grigory Velikykh suggested developing a unique analytical product, such as a rating of political/economic stability of the continent's countries, as well preparing and issuing a regular information digest (The Roscongress Foundation is ready to participate in its development and promotion). The Council member also noted the importance of involving the expert and business communities of the post-Soviet countries in the work of the SC and the relevance of interfacing the interests of the EAEC and the African continent.

Members of the Councils offered important comments, such as: the relevance of holding a joint event with the authorities to ‘synchronize watches’ and to develop common proposals for deepening Russian-African cooperation; the need to provide Africans with the opportunity to participate in volunteer activities; give African graduates of Russian universities a chance to apply for internships in major Russian companies operating in the African sector; the need to develop new areas of cooperation while maintaining ongoing projects, particularly on the humanitarian field (for example, support for the Joint Russian-Ethiopian Biological Expedition of the Russian Academy of Sciences); the expediency of wider coverage of events taking place in Africa and the prospects for Russian-African relations.

In her closing speech, Irina Abramova suggested that the members of the SC should forward their thoughts on the content of the programme and organization of the work of the Council to the Secretariat.

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