TASS Hosts Discussion on Need to Enhance Russia’s Information Presence in Africa

20 May, Moscow – A conference titled ‘Africa in the Mirror of the Media’, which was organized by the Russkiy Mir Foundation and the Russian Association for International Cooperation (RAIC), addressed the issue of covering the Russian agenda in Africa and the African agenda in Russia. RAIC General Secretary Vladimir Polozkov, Russian World Executive Director Vladimir Kochin, and Association of Economic Cooperation with African States (AECAS) Executive Director Anna Belyayeva spoke about the work being carried out in this regard.


The Union of African Diasporas and the RAIC spoke about their intention to create an Association of Russian-Speaking Journalists and Bloggers in Africa.

 

“We know that there is very high demand for cooperation in terms of humanitarian interaction with Africa. We have a considerable social network of friends of Russia in Africa – primarily among graduates of Russian and Soviet universities. We believe that this collaboration is very important and we are building up efforts for this purpose,” Polozkov said.

 

The discussion was attended by Foundation for Cooperation with the Russian-Language Foreign Press Executive Director Alexander Klein, and Union of African Diasporas President Zenebe Kinfu.

 

Belyayeva noted that Russia’s information presence in the African media is the number one priority for successfully promoting Russia’s business agenda throughout the continent.

 

“Our main job is to align the interests of Russian companies and progress towards Africa. In this regard, the business agenda is certainly linked with the agenda of media promotion as well as the cultural and social agenda, since we can only enter Africa in a holistic manner. We recently made a decision with the RAIC and the Roscongress Foundation to work together to promote Russia on the African continent. We can only make progress on this agenda by working together collectively,” she said.

 

Commenting on the key goals that the association has set for itself, Belyayeva singled out a project that will require the combined efforts of organizations involved in international cooperation and promoting Russia abroad, including maintaining contact with foreign graduates of Russian universities and promoting the Russian language.

 

“We understand the need to create the so-called United Russia-Africa Online Space, i.e., to assemble the entire array of information that exists on the Russian-African agenda in one place, since information coverage is at a very low level right now,” Belyayeva said.


She also said it is crucial to compare the needs of Russian business and the professions in which African scholarship recipients study in Russia.

 

“We want to analyse the capabilities of our Russian universities and the demand from Russian business. The goal of this project is for African students studying in Russia to conduct internships at Russian enterprises operating in Africa,” she said.

 

Belyayeva emphasized the need for government financial support to promote Russia in Africa.

 

“We have studied the issue of creating a state direct investment fund to work in Africa. This is a very big, serious thing, and many of our competing countries have it. Of course, this is also required for Russian business,” she said.

 

Belyayeva noted that, per tradition, the African agenda will be part of the programme of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which will take place on 25 June.

 

“We are preparing a session at the SPIEF, the Russia-Africa Business Dialogue, together with a member of our Association, the Roscongress Foundation. I would like to point out that both Russian and African high-profile speakers have shown great interest,” she said.

 

The conference was also attended by Russian-speaking journalists based in various African countries: Egypt, Morocco, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Tanzania. They noted there is a lack of information about Russia in Africa and no Russian-language media on the continent, while Western media have long been working to promote their agenda in Africa.

 

“With significant support from the government to implement information, educational, and educational policies that aim to raise awareness among the African public and create a positive image of Russia, we will be able to create new reliable platforms for African-Russian collaboration in parallel with the development of the economic and political community,” said Duke Michel Ngebana, the Honorary Consul of the Russian Federation in Pointe-Noire (Republic of the Congo) and a member of the World Coordination Council of Russian Compatriots Living Abroad.


Photo source: TASS 

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