Participants in Russia-Africa International Forum to Discuss Sustainable Partnership in Agricultural Sector

African countries are highly dependent on the agricultural industry, which accounts for more than 30% of their GDP. However, several countries still have not been able to achieve an adequate level of self-sufficiency in agricultural products. A number of factors are preventing this, including geographical and climatic factors. The use of modern technologies as well as partnerships with foreign companies will help take the African agro-industrial sector to a new level. In addition, the development of foreign trade will help seriously change the situation. Russia is one of the largest suppliers of agricultural products to African countries today and is ready to further develop this segment. Participants in the Russia–Africa Forum will discuss all these issues during the session ‘Sustainable Partnership in Agriculture: Institutions, Tools, and Guarantees’, which will be held as part of the business programme on 24 October with the support of PhosAgro.

The session will be moderated by Agrifood Strategies President Albert Davleev. The following speakers will talk about the prospects and issues in the agricultural sector and successful experience in this area will: Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation Sergey Levin, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, Deputy General Director of United Grain Company and Executive Director of the Union of Grain Exporters Eduard Zernin, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of URALCHEM UCC Dmitry Konyaev, CEO of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Angela Ndambuki, and PhosAgro Chairman of the Board and CEO Andrey Guryev.

A lack of modern technology, skilled personnel, and suitable land for cultivation are among the main factors impeding the development of agriculture in Africa. Experts agree that Russia could become a potential partner for African countries since it has vast agricultural experience and proven technologies. In recent years, Russian companies have been actively increasing the export of agricultural and food products to foreign markets, including to African countries. Russia is one of the ten largest suppliers of food to this continent.

Of course, there are still a number of infrastructure barriers that are impeding the development of trade between Russia and Africa. The discussion will address how to take trade cooperation to a new level and create effective logistics infrastructure.

“It is crucial to establish a mutually beneficial Russian-African partnership at all stages of the agricultural production chain. This includes soil cultivation, sanitary treatment, and agricultural technologies that aim to improve product quality,” Guryev said. “Russia is actively increasing exports, and our trade relations have great prospects. In addition, Russian business is interested in investing in the agricultural sector and infrastructure in Africa. Our experts have invaluable experience, which they will be happy to share in order to develop a mutually beneficial partnership”.

The Russia–Africa Summit and Economic Forum will take place on 23–24 October in Sochi at the Sirius Park of Science and Art. The events are being organized by the Roscongress Foundation, and the co-organizers of the Russia–Africa Economic Forum are Russian Export Center and Afreximbank.

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