Russia–Africa Summit on the Agenda of the Business Council under the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs

The Business Council under the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs held a regular meeting chaired by Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on 16 July. The meeting participants focused on developing Russia’s economic ties with African countries as part of preparations for the Russia–Africa Economic Forum and Summit, which will be held on 23–24 October in Sochi. The meeting was attended by representatives of the leadership of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, other concerned ministries and agencies as well as scientific, business, and public circles. Roscongress Foundation Chairman of the Board and CEO Alexander Stuglev also took part in the Business Council meeting.

Much of the meeting agenda was devoted to ways to expand and deepen Russian–African trade, economic, and investment cooperation in the run-up to the Russia–Africa events in Sochi. Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov noted the importance of enhancing the efficiency of political and diplomatic support for Russian business projects on the African continent in order to strengthen the position of the Russian business community on foreign markets. In particular, he said: “Our relations with the Africans, including in trade and economic affairs, are taking on a new level. The first Russia-Africa Summit in history should provide a special impetus to these processes”, Lavrov said.

Anton Kobyakov, Advisor to the Russian President and Executive Secretary of the Organizing Committee in charge of preparing for and holding the Summit and other events in the Russia–Africa format in Russia in 2019, said the Russia–Africa Summit and Russia–Africa Economic Forum are a natural result of the growing interest that both sides have shown in cooperating in recent years. “The Annual Meeting of the African Export-Import Bank held in Moscow in June this year demonstrated that Russia has already accumulated considerable experience in local partnerships on the African continent and established effective communication on ways to develop joint projects. The holding of Russia–Africa Summit and Forum should help Russian representatives to consolidate their positions in one of the centres of global economic growth”, Kobyakov said.

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