Participants of the Russia–Africa Economic Forum Set to Discuss Business Prospects in African Countries

Experts are predicting that the market potential of African countries is due to experience significant growth in the near future. Even today, the continent is one of the fastest growing regions in the world. Many global corporations are already present in Africa, with each of them fighting to have the most influence. It’s clear that business is already up and running here. Yet while there are prospects and opportunities, there are also serious risks. This dilemma will feature as the main topic for discussion at the Russia–Africa Economic Forum during a session entitled ‘Doing Business in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities’, which will take place on 23 October as part of the ‘Forging Economic Ties’ pillar. The session will be moderated by the President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin.

Reports on the topic of the session have been prepared by Director of the Institute for African Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences Irina Abramova; President of the Chamber of Commerce of Djibouti Youssouf Moussa Dawaleh; President and Chief Executive Officer of Grupo Opaia SA Agostinho Kapaia; Minister of Investment and International Cooperation of the Arab Republic of Egypt Her Excellency Sahar Nasr; and Commissioner for Economic Affairs of the African Union Victor Harrison. High-level experts will also be speaking during the discussion, including: President and Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Group Aliko Dangote; Chairman of the Board of Directors at URALCHEM Dmitry Mazepin; Chairman of the Board of Directors at Peacemaker International Security Centre Mikhail Anichkin; Chief Executive Officer of United Manganese of Kalahari Viktor Radko; Chief Legal Officer of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs and Member of the Board of Directors at Nord Gold SE Evgeny Tulubenskiy; and Professor at Moscow State Linguistic University Galina Sidorova.

Participants in the event will discuss the characteristics of the African market and the profiles of separate countries, along with obstacles to and conditions for success for companies which are already working in the region. “It’s impossible to view Africa as a single monolithic market. Here, every country has its own market profile, scale and structure,” said Irina Abramova. “When making the decision to work in African countries, it’s essential to consider the political, cultural, ethnic and religious peculiarities. All that entails a tailored country-specific approach to doing business.”

The invited experts will discuss several characteristics of the entrepreneurial and business culture of the African continent and will talk about the characteristics of the administrative environment and competition. Participants from official circles and private businesses at the meeting will help determine the optimal conditions for doing business in Africa, thereby minimizing risks and significantly increasing opportunities and prospects for development.

The Russia–Africa Summit and Economic Forum is due to take place in Sochi on 23–24 October 2019 at the Sirius Park of Science and Art. Events are organized by the Roscongress Foundation. Russian Export Centre and Afreximbank are co-organizing the Forum.

For a more detailed version of the Russia–Africa Economic Forum programme, please visit: https://summitafrica.ru/programm/.

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