Secretariat of the Russia–Africa Partnership Forum: new objectives, plans, and achievements

The Secretariat of the Russia–Africa Partnership Forum held a presentation in Moscow involving the following participants: Mikhail Bogdanov, Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; Oleg Ozerov, Ambassador-at-Large and Head of the Secretariat of the Russia–Africa Partnership Forum; Yevgeny Primakov, Head of Rossotrudnichestvo and Head of the Public Council of the Secretariat of the Russia–Africa Partnership Forum; Irina Abramova, Director of the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Alexander Stuglev, Chairman of the Board and CEO of the Roscongress Foundation; Head of the Coordinating Council of the Russia–Africa Partnership Forum; Alexander Saltanov, Head of the Association of Economic Cooperation with African States (AECAS). Other attendees included ambassadors of African states and representatives of African and Russian business unions, Russian AECAS member companies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other government agencies.   

“Russia and African states have long been linked by political, trade, economic, cultural, and historical ties. Changes that can be witnessed both in Africa and in the world at large required an update to the entire spectrum of Russian-African relations. The first Russia–Africa Summit, a truly historic event that took place in Sochi in October last year was a response to these challenges. It convincingly illustrated that Russia and its friends in Africa see each other as important and promising partners. The Summit has laid the foundation for the new interaction architecture between Russia and Africa. To provide efficient functionality for this new dialogue mechanism the Secretariat of the Russia–Africa Partnership Forum has been created. This structure aims to coordinate the entire range of our relations with the African countries. It will oversee the formation of interagency expert groups that will come up with tangible solutions to develop and enrich economic, research, and humanitarian cooperation with the preparation for new Summits in mind,” noted Mikhail Bogdanov. 

The event hosted a signing ceremony of a cooperation agreement between the Roscongress Foundation and the Association of Economic Cooperation with African States (AECAS). CEO and Chairman of the Roscongress Foundation Alexander Stuglev and AECAS Head Alexander Saltanov agreed to partner up to ensure effective communication between expert, business, and political communities of Russia and African states.  

“The first Russia–Africa Summit and Economic Forum was a landmark event and achievement that made it possible to bring together all key politicians and business representatives from Russia and the African continent, establish contacts and agree on future cooperation areas. The second Russia–Africa event, in turn, will demonstrate the results of our efficient interaction, and, above all, economic results. Well-coordinated work of the Secretariat, all departments and organizations will help make our joint international activities more efficient, as teamwork is the key component of success,” noted Oleg Ozerov, who was appointed Ambassador-at-Large and Head of the Secretariat of the Russia–Africa Partnership Forum in April 2020.   

As part of its preparation for the next Summit in 2022, the Secretariat will create roadmaps with specific performance targets, as well three interagency councils. Each of the councils will cover its own line of work. In addition to authorities, agencies and the Roscongress Foundation, representatives of the Russian business and key business associations will participate in the Council.

The Coordinating Council will be the part of the Secretariat. It will define the key areas for development of events, economic and informational agenda, as well as specific plans for preparation of the next Russia–Africa Summit roadmap. The Council will include government agencies, public officials, and representatives of the Roscongress Foundation, Russian business, and key business associations. The Coordinating Council will be led by CEO and Chairman of the Roscongress Foundation Alexander Stuglev. 

The Research Council will be chaired by Irina Abramova, Director of the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Participants of the Council will work on economic and political analysis, forecasts, and research that will pave the way for the activities of the Secretariat’s Coordinating Council. The Research Council will be supported by leading scientific and educational organizations. 

Social, humanitarian and cultural areas will be coordinated by the Public Council. It will cover various aspects of humanitarian cooperation, as well as collaboration in education, cultural exchange, and contacts between youth communities, including Russian alumni associations. The Council will be headed by Yevgeny Primakov, Head of Rossotrudnichestvo.   

The councils will closely cooperate and hold regular meetings, under the control and with the participation of the Russian–Africa Partnership Forum Secretariat.

The Secretariat’s functions, among others, will include organization of political consultations and events, in particular, the annual meeting of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and three chairpersons of the African Union (current, previous and next), coordination of cooperation development, political and diplomatic support for projects in African countries and all other necessary activities for preparation and holding of the upcoming Russia–Africa Summits.

Official website of the Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum: 

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