The knowledge and competences of Russian companies are a competitive advantage in the African market
“African countries no longer know as much about Russia as they did about the Soviet Union. They often receive distorted information about our country. We also need to work in this regard. <...> We are starting this work today and launching a common information space project between Russia and Africa together with our partners – the Investment Promotion Foundation RC-Investments, Gazprombank's e-trading platform and Active Data. We hope to hold a full-scale presentation of this project in October and will offer both portals and services to promote economic ties,” Alexander Saltanov, Chairman, The Association of Economic Cooperation with African States
“Today we have reached a point where there is a need to intensify our cooperation by creating new fundamental mechanisms to support Russian business in Africa through the so-called economic diplomacy, which consists of close cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and Russian ministries and organizations. <...> As Russian diplomats, we are ready to provide the necessary support to Russian economic operators entering the African market, both large enterprises and medium and small businesses,” Mikhail Bogdanov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa.
“Africa is first and foremost about people. What kind of water they will drink, what they will eat, how they will develop, what kind of education they will have. <...> Our knowledge is our capital and our competitive advantage,” Irina Abramova, Director, Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Corresponding Member, Russian Academy of Sciences.
Rapidly growing Africa is a promising market for Russian companies
“We, as Russian Railways, see Africa as our promising market due to the fact that Africa is developing dynamically. Today, this continent and its countries are emerging as leaders, including in terms of social and economic indicators. <...> We expect Egypt to be the starting point from which we will begin interacting with other countries. We also see some opportunities in Tanzania. <...> Ghana, Botswana, Morocco are of great interest to our holding company,” Sergey Pavlov, First Deputy Managing Director, Russian Railways.
“Egypt is an African country that is also developing investment programmes. We have important projects with the Russian Federation – the nuclear power plant in El Dabaa, which is a huge investment of USD 13 billion. <...> Egypt is a gateway to other African countries. We have done a lot in terms of developing transport partnerships between our neighbours, with our African neighbours. We are developing road projects, we are developing construction projects, we are also developing private companies,” Rania Almashat, Minister of International Cooperation of the Arab Republic of Egypt.
Africa's growing and emerging market needs modern technology
“Another interesting area we want to develop in Africa is the digitalization of agriculture, various digital platforms that we are already successfully applying in Russia. <...> Digital itself is useless unless it comes with infrastructure and with applicable things. Thus, digital is simply an accelerator for us,” Dmitry Konyaev, Chairman of the Board of Directors, URALCHEM.
“Of course, Africa is no exception in terms of all the global trends that we are seeing around the world today. Mainly, it is a growing population, urbanization, and development of new technologies. It is the development of transport accessibility for both passengers and freight. It is the construction of port infrastructure. In all of these aspects, Russia certainly has all the necessary technologies and competences – as it was put with a certain bitterness, I reckon – to finally go back to these trade, economic and, I emphasize, mainly social relations between our two continents many years later,” Kirill Lipa, General Director, Transmashholding.
“After the Sochi summit, all efforts were focused on launching export to Africa. It is not easy, because 30 years after we left the region, we need to enter a competitive environment. This competitive environment has already been integrated into African life, into African legislation, and the conditions that are opening up for Russian business today – they are not quite the same as those for businessmen from France, the European Union, India, or China,” Igor Morozov, Member of the Committee for Economy Policy of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation.
Economic diplomacy, strengthening of intergovernmental commissions and increased number of mutual visits
“We very much hope that the e-rouble will help or encourage our banks to enter the African continent after all and do their best to participate in financing Russian-African start-ups, Russian-African trade and, of course, in localizing Russian-African production,” Igor Morozov, Member of the Committee for Economy Policy of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation.
“Given the crucial importance of direct contacts between African heads of state and the Russian leadership, we consider it necessary to intensify the work of all bilateral inter-governmental commissions. During the pandemic, it is necessary to increase the frequency of meetings of the inter-ministerial commissions and visits. I would like to say that we, as a business, are ready to participate in all government programmes and, to a large extent, be an agent of government policy in appropriate activites,” Dmitry Konyaev, Chairman of the Board of Directors, URALCHEM.
“Creating a company <...> deserves attention, a foreign trade company, which would coordinate efforts in a particular country or in a particular region of Africa. A company that would assemble those products which Russian business offers to the market or has already signed contracts to promote. One company will probably not be able to cope with this, but when there is an organization working on that, it will speed up the process,” Alexander Saltanov, Chairman, The Association of Economic Cooperation with African States
Mutual advancement by both African governments and businesses
“Investing in the private sector can unlock the full potential of our continent and implement our plans. We are keen to increase our cooperation with Russia for the benefit of the whole continent,” Rania Almashat, Minister of International Cooperation of the Arab Republic of Egypt.
“Today, the concession model primarily provides for initial and significant input by the investor. In this situation, I think in order to help Africa develop dynamically and rapidly, these concession models need to be revised, more attention needs to be paid, including to security and guarantees from the government, from the state, so that the investor feels protected,” Sergey Pavlov, First Deputy Managing Director, Russian Railways.
“Business development is based primarily on the flow of capital, technology, and people. <...> We started communicating in South Africa, which was such a challenge for us. To be honest, it was my first time. And all of a sudden, I saw a culture very similar to that of Russia. They are very open people, very direct, very similar to you and me,” Kirill Lipa, General Director, Transmashholding.
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