Russia and Côte d’Ivoire Discuss Business Relations and Participation in Russia–Africa Summit

Adviser to the President of the Russian Federation Anton Kobyakov met with Vice-President of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire Daniel Kablan Duncan at the 2019 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. They discussed the Republic’s participation in the Forum and the Russia—Africa Summit to be held in Sochi in October 2019.

The parties agreed to form a working group to be made up of representatives of the Government of Côte d’Ivoire and the Roscongress Foundation. The working group will be responsible for developing a roadmap for organizing investment and trading cooperation. The parties will create a list of priority industries and target projects and another of goods and services for export-import operations.

Kobyakov noted that Russia attaches great importance to deepening cooperation with its African partners in trade and investment that includes the involvement of Russian companies in the implementation of projects in various sectors. «In 2018, trade between the Russian Federation and Africa increased from USD 17.4 billion to USD 20.4 billion, domestic exports grew by 18.1%, and imports to Russia from the continent grew by 11.1%. Key Russian trading partners include such North African countries as Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, as well as the Republic of South Africa, located on the other end of the continent. Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, and Tunisia accounted for the lion’s share of Russian exports in 2018, while South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Côte d’Ivoire, and Tunisia dominated imports», Kobyakov said.

Vice-President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire Daniel Kablan Duncan underlined the strengthening of bilateral relations between Russia and Côte d’Ivoire: «2017 marked a half-century since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries. We enjoy friendly relations that encompass many areas of interaction, including political dialogue, security, trade, economic and technical military ties, energy, and scientific, cultural, and cultural exchanges. Cote d’Ivoire is one of Russia’s largest trading partners in sub-Saharan Africa, and the beginning of 2019 has been marked by a significant increase in mutual trade. The outlook for cooperation in energy seems promising. The development of gas production is associated with capital-intensive deep-sea projects (more than 3,000 meters), and therefore we are interested in involving a major Russian company in the development of projects of this nature. The processing of agricultural products could also be included in a list of key areas of trade and investment cooperation with Russia».

A key item on the meeting agenda was the upcoming Russia—Africa Summit, which will be held on 24 October in Sochi under the co-chairmanship of President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Chairperson of the African Union. This is the first event in the history of Russian—African relations to invite the heads of all African states along with the leaders of major sub-regional associations and organizations.

«We are particularly pleased to learn that President of Côte d’Ivoire Alassane Ouattara will be participating in the Russia—Africa Summit. Even more significant is the fact that the upcoming visit of Cote d’Ivoire’s head will be the first in the history of bilateral relations between our countries. Key for the development of bilateral trade and investment cooperation will be the search for and joint development of key areas for a mutually beneficial partnership between Russia and Côte d’Ivoire», Kobyakov said.

Kobyakov also invited a large business delegation from the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire to visit the Russia—Africa Economic Forum, which will be held from 23 to 24 October 2019 in Sochi as part of the Russia—Africa Summit, which will be attended by African heads of state, representatives of Russian, African and international business and government agencies, and representatives of African integration associations. The Forum is expected to result in the signing of a significant number of trade, economic, and investment agreements.

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