Sochi to Discuss Industrial Collaboration between Russia and Africa and Outlook for Economic Zones

Participants of the Russia–Africa Economic Forum, slated for 23–24 October 2019 in Sochi, will discuss the outlook and format for Russian-African industrial collaboration. The focus will be on areas of growth, joint long-term projects, and economic zones as an example of effective production localization.

One of the most promising types of Russian-African collaboration may come in the form of economic zones. Modern production chains are in the process of changing: production is moving towards end consumers, logistical and technological costs are decreasing, and the social component of projects is changing, which facilitates the development of local economies. These and other topics are up for expert consideration at the ‘New Forms of Cooperation between Russia and Africa: Opportunities for Special Economic Zones Based on the Project to Establish a Russian Industrial Zone in Egypt’ discussion panel on 23 October.

Participants will evaluate the conditions necessary for creating infrastructural “entry points” with preferential regimes for special (free) economic zones producing competitive, high-quality, high-tech products with advantages for local markets.

A Russian Industrial Zone is currently being created in Egypt at the East Port Said site of the Suez Canal Economic Zone and is a unique project involving governmental, state development institutions, and members of the business community. As of today, framework agreements have been concluded with 25 resident companies that include manufacturers of biochemicals and fertilizers, building materials and steel works, composite materials, agricultural machinery, electrical equipment, oil and gas equipment, and port equipment among other things.

A 525-hectare production complex will be rolled out in stages, making it possible for Russian exporters and suppliers to localize capacities close to emerging markets in the Middle East and Africa. Residents will be able to take advantage of modern engineering and utility infrastructure and choose between designing their own buildings on the base site and developing existing production facilities. Tax, export and import custom duty, employee expenditure, and Suez Canal passage exemptions and concessions will be put in place for companies. 100% revenue repatriation will be provided without special requirements demanding the involvement of an Egyptian partner.

Russia 24 TV Channel Head of the Economic Programme Alexey Bobrovsky will moderate the session on new formats of cooperation and the creation of a Russian Industrial Zone in Egypt. Discussion participants include Chairman of the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) Yehia Zaki, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) Benedict Oramah, General Director of Russian Industries Overseas Egypt Ilya Pomigalov, CEO of the Russian Export Center Andrey Slepnev, and Chairman of the Russian-Egyptian Business Council Mikhail Orlov.

“Africa is currently of great interest to manufacturers and suppliers of Russian agricultural and special purpose machinery, companies involved in the maintenance and modernization of power plants, in oil production and transportation, and in the equipping of chemical and mining facilities”, Slepnev said. “We welcome the creation of the Russian Industrial Zone in Egypt as part of the International Cooperation and Export national project – the Russian Industrial Zone will accelerate the growth of Russian exports. Today, when construction of the industrial zone is set to begin, the Russian Export Center is finalizing plans with Egyptian partners. And though the national project calls for production in the Russian Industrial Zone to kick off in 2024, we know the zone’s first residents plan to start in 2022. The REC is involved in expanding cooperation between Russia and Africa in every possible way, creating convenient export support tools, supporting joint initiatives, and creating special export routes. We see ahead exceptional opportunities for Russia and Africa”.

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

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