Speech by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the Russia–Africa Economic Conference in Moscow

It is my pleasure to welcome participants of the Russia–Africa Economic Conference, which is being held at the 26th Annual General Meeting of Shareholders of the African Export-Import Bank. First of all, let me express my sincere gratitude to Mr. Oramah for choosing Moscow as a platform for a Bank shareholder meeting. As far as I know, this is only the second time Afreximbank has held an event of this kind outside of Africa.

We see this as evidence of a high level of trust between Russia and the governments of Africa. Relations between us have traditionally been friendly and develop in keeping with the principles of equality, mutual respect, and consideration for each other’s interests. Our country has never participated in colonial seizures in the region and has not engaged in the barbaric plundering of its natural resources. On the contrary, we have invariably opposed various manifestations of racism, provided comprehensive assistance to African people in their struggle against colonialism, and after they have gained independence, we have helped to establish and strengthen statehood and develop national economies.

Nowadays, the countries of Africa are important international partners in upholding the values of truth and justice on the world stage, in strict observance of international law and respect for the national identity of each people group and their chosen development path. Our states — opponents of unilateral sanctions, measures of coercion, and trade wars — consistently advocate that the world trade system be fair and that all countries without exception, and not just a narrow group of states, enjoy the benefits of globalization.

On the basis of experience collected over many years of creative partnership, we are confidently moving to expand Russian–African ties in a comprehensive way. Political dialogue has intensified at the highest level. Inter-parliamentary ties have gained momentum, and we expect numerous African guests at the second International Forum on the Development of Parliamentarism and at the Russia–Africa Parliamentary Conference, which will be held in Moscow on 1–3 July of this year.

Contacts are being promoted between various ministries and departments, including foreign policy departments. Both through bilateral channels and as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Russia has continued to support its African friends in their fight against terrorism, crime, and other cross-border threats. We contribute to efforts to resolve crises and conflicts on the continent on the basis of the principle «African solutions to African problems» that was created in the African Union (AU). At the same time, the international community must support the agreements that are being worked out by Africans, support morally, politically, financially, and materially. As part of international programmes, we provide bilateral humanitarian assistance to the countries of the continent that suffer as a result of crises and military conflicts, natural disasters, and pandemic diseases. We are training African personnel in Russian educational institutions at the expense of the state budget in civilian-acquired skills, through the Russian Ministry of Defense, law enforcement agencies, security services, and also in peacekeeping.

Dear friends,

The solid foundation of Russian–African friendship laid through joint efforts has created favourable conditions for increasing trade, engaging in economic and investment-related exchanges, expanding cooperation in banking, and encouraging business circles to implement mutually beneficial projects in Africa.

Some degree of success has already been achieved in this respect. Trade is growing and according to last year’s results amounted to more than USD 20 billion. The list is diversifying. Large projects are being carried out in Africa in various fields with direct financial support from Russia. Some of the projects that I will mention include the construction of the first nuclear power plant in Egypt and the creation of a Russian industrial zone as well as projects that are being carried out in Africa by such Russian business leaders as Rosneft, Lukoil, Rosgeology, Gazprom, Alrosa, Vi Holding, GPB Global Resources, and the Renova Group among others.

I am convinced that the interest in building long-term trade and economic relations between Russian entrepreneurs and their African counterparts will be facilitated by cooperation with Afreximbank, who has the Russian Export Center as a shareholder.

I would also like to note the close cooperation that’s taking place with many African partners at multilateral economic platforms and which includes stabilizing the global hydrocarbon market within the framework of OPEC + and the Gas Exporting Countries Forum.

Dear colleagues,

To give an additional impetus to our comprehensive interaction, including its trade and economic component, a joint decision was made to hold the first Russia–Africa Summit, which will be held in October this year in Sochi under the auspices of Russian President Vladimir Putin and President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as chairman of the African Union. We are expecting African heads of state and government, and leaders of the AU and other leading sub-regional organizations.

We continue to work together with our African friends to shape the agenda for the Summit. It is our hope that Afreximbank will also contribute to the substantial content of the economic programme, which looks very sound.

In the course of this truly landmark and unprecedented meeting, it is expected that we will discuss a wide range of international issues and consider ways to deepen Russian–African cooperation in various fields, from politics to culture. On the sidelines of the summit as well as during the Russia–Africa Economic Forum, which will take place the day before, a whole range of bilateral and multilateral documents are set to be signed, including interstate and interdepartmental agreements and trade agreements and contracts.

I would like to take this opportunity to urge the distinguished participants of the Conference to wholeheartedly join in the upcoming events in Sochi.

Today I would like to wish you fruitful work and your countries and peoples peace, well-being, and prosperity.

Source: http://www.mid.ru

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