The Role of Media in Russian–African Relations

KEY CONCLUSIONS

Information cooperation between Russia and the African countries is very promising

“Information cooperation is far more efficient and is developing much faster than the economic cooperation. Still, it is not enough. <…> Information cooperation is very promising, and we have whole sets of these programmes,” – Alexei Volin, Deputy Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation.

“The importance of mass media in modern life and in Russian-African relations is hard to overstate,” – Mikhail Gusman, Chairman, Russian National Committee of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication; Vice-President, News Agency World Council (NACO).

Russian mass media are open to work with their African colleagues

“In addition to information exchange, RT is ready to offer African partners news, analytics, and documentaries. <…> Both RT and TASS are always ready to welcome African journalists willing to attend professional training programmes,” – Alexei Volin, Deputy Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation.

“TV-Novosti, an autonomous non-profit organization aims to work with African information agencies in disseminating RT content in English, French, and Arabic. RT and Sputnik want to take African journalists in for training programmes,” – Mikhail Bogdanov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa.

“We support establishing direct contacts between the leading media outlets of Africa and Russia to develop professional dialogue, professional training, veritable information exchange, as well as sharing experiences in facing new threats and challenges,” – Artem Kozhin, Deputy Director, Department of Information and Press, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

PROBLEMS

Western media dominating in Africa

“Often times, unique news offerings created by the Russian media simply do not make to the users and viewers in many regions, including Africa. Evidently, this vacuum gets filled with one-sided information from other players in the media market. This information can be biased, or outright hostile towards Russia and residents of other countries,” – Mikhail Bogdanov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa.

“Africa is largely unaware of Russia, since African media mainly consumes the Western sources and then replicates them. And all the fake news, the rusophobia and anti-Russian propaganda, spread by the Western media, are repeated in the African media,” – Alexey Vasiliev, Honorary President, Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Chef Editor, Asia and Africa Today Journal.

 

“Freedom of speech situation around the world is far from satisfactory. We encounter that all the time. Some Western countries break their international obligations and keep pressuring Russian media and their partners,” – Artem Kozhin, Deputy Director, Department of Information and Press, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

“African continent is discussed quite a bit in the media. We have to analyze and comment on things all the time. Often times we get faulty evaluation from other sources. It turns out, that information can be false, marginalized, because the players are not equal and it affects the situation,” – Khalil Hashimi Idrissi, Managing Director, Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).   

Insufficient information about Russia in Africa

“Delivering the news from Russia is still difficult. Information about Russia is still insufficient. TASS needs to keep that in mind. They need to sign agreements with agencies, or magazines, newspapers, radio and TV stations so that there is more news about Russia,” – Xavier Messe A Tiati, Director General, Cameroonian News Agency.

“We see a massive void in the information space when we talk about Russian-African relations. <…> Russia does a lot with the African countries, yet it does not get sufficient coverage,” – Albert Kofi Owusu, General Manager, Ghana News Agency.

 

SOLUTIONS

Expanding Russian media international office network

“Affecting the one-dimensional coverage inclination of the information field can be achieved by developing the wider international correspondents’ network for Russia, including offices in the African countries,” – Mikhail Bogdanov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa.

“TASS today is dedicated to developing our relationship with the African colleagues. We are going to provide the residents of the continent with a chance to receive an interpretation of both global and African events, that will differ from that of the majority of Western media. TASS plans to significantly expand the number of offices in the tropical Africa. <…> This, we hope, is going to improve the mutual understanding between the peoples of Russia and of the African countries, and improve the relations across a variety of fields,” – Sergey Mikhaylov, General Director, Russian News Agency TASS

 

Strengthening the cooperation between Russian and African media

“Dear representatives of the African media, I call upon you to take part in the Global Media Agreement. It provides unique opportunities to inform the general public about the practical and tangible measures in achieving sustainable development goals. <…> It is only together we are going to change the world and achieve prosperity, security and justice,” – Vladimir Kuznetsov, Director, United Nations Information Centre in Moscow

“We understand we need to create a new cooperation model that will inspire us and bring us closer together. It will be a new cultural formation that will inspire our interaction, develop our societies, and stimulate growth,” – Khalil Hashimi Idrissi — Managing Director, Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).

For more information, visit the Roscongress 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