First meeting of AECAS Supervisory Council has been held

The first meeting of the Supervisory Council of the Association of Economic Cooperation with African States (AECAS) has been held in Moscow.

Among the participants were heads of the Secretariat of the Russia–Africa Partnership Forum, AECAS, representatives of the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Construction, Housing and Utilities, the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Agroexport and other agencies.

In his welcoming speech, Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Head of the Secretariat of the Russia–Africa Partnership Forum Oleg Ozerov emphasized the general interest of Russian business in consolidation of efforts aimed at expansion of its presence in African economies.

He noted that AECAS has constructively interacted with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia and Russian embassies on the African continent. It has established contacts to share information on priority projects and is actively working on developing relations with public organizations and companies.

“In 2020–2021, meetings were held with heads of such countries as Mali, Guinea, Senegal, Angola and others. AECAS serves as a ‘bridge’ between Russian embassies and Russian business to support Russian business circles. Russian projects in Africa are continuously being supported in political and diplomatic domains,” said Ozerov.

In his speech, President of the AECAS Supervisory Council Sergey Storchak noted: “To achieve the goals set for the preparation and holding of the upcoming Summit and for activation of Russian-African business cooperation, full-scale coordination of actions and consecutive steps are necessary. Today we need to create a consolidated platform for Russian business circles to gradually enter Africa, taking into account specifics of this continent and competition with other countries. We have a positive experience of cooperation with African partners, and these examples should be replicated.”

According to Sergey Storchak, promotion of Russian companies in Africa, serving their interests, creation of a favourable climate for working on the African continent, informational support of Russian business projects, humanitarian, educational and social programmes should receive state support.

Head of AECAS Alexander Saltanov noted the importance of establishment of the Supervisory Council with wide representation of government agencies and business structures. He said that this will undoubtedly help further improve the efficiency of AECAS that serves as a powerful tool of comprehensive support for Russian business taking part in development and trade and economic relations with Africa.

Alexander Saltanov informed the Council members about the work carried out by the Association and the challenges it faces. He emphasized that among members of AECAS there is a number of leading Russian companies specializing in various business spheres, and their products are in demand on the African continent. They include Rosatom, PhosAgro, Gazprombank and others. Several other companies are to become members in the near future. AECAS has signed partnership agreements with the Roscongress Foundation and TASS. “Generally, Russian business circles are determined to establish dialogue with African partners,” said Saltanov.

He noted that AECAS is focused on active promotion of interests of Russian business on the African continent. For that purpose, the Association establishes connections with African government bodies and companies; agreements have been signed with business partners in Mali, Gabon, Senegal, Madagascar and others. Relations are being developed with chambers of commerce and industry and foundations for attracting investments. AECAS is supported by the interaction with Russian government agencies, including Russian embassies in Africa.

Head of AECAS spoke about plans for implementation of educational and humanitarian programmes, including internships for African students in Russia and interaction with Russian and African media.

Alexander Saltanov also talked about steps taken by the Association towards establishing relations with Russian regions – Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Chelyabinsk Region and others.

“Members of the Association are considering the development of state support measures and creation of a favourable environment for project implementation, creation of mechanisms for activating business relations with Africa. Companies are willing to join efforts to meet challenges, and express their deep interest in it,” concluded Saltanov.

Irina Abramova, Director of the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, talked about trends in African economies focusing on expediency of development of the agriculture sector. “The food threat remains relevant in Africa. We are speaking, among other things, about selling Russian equipment, grain and fertilizers on the African continent. Africa is a potential market for Russian products,” she said.

Other members of the Supervisory Council supported the suggestions put forward during the meeting, with special attention paid to the development of Russia–Africa business dialogue, as well as educational and social programmes.

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