15th International Conference ‘The Destinies of Africa in the Modern World’ Ends

On 24–26 May 2021, the Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences together with the Roscongress Foundation with the support of TASS organized and held the 15th conference of Africanists entitled ‘The Destinies of Africa in the Modern World’. The conference opened on the eve of the Africa Day celebrated on 25 May.

This year’s conference was especially significant, as it was an important step in the preparation for the second Russia–Africa Summit which will take place in 2022. It should be noted that Russian organizations had never held an Africa-related event this big in a combined online/offline format.

On 24 May, the conference opened with the plenary session moderated by Director of the RAS Institute for African Studies, RAS Presidium Member, RAS Corresponding Member Irina Abramova. This session was an opportunity for the leaders of Russia and of the African Union, representatives of business and scientific community to discuss the current agenda of the Russian-African cooperation and the required steps to strengthen and expand a mutually beneficial partnership on an international scale.

The delegates were greeted by the Russian side represented by Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Konstantin Kosachev; Deputy Chairwoman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Olga Timofeeva; TASS Director General Sergei Mikhailov; the African side was represented by Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology at African Union Commission Sarah Anyang Agbor; President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank) Dr. Benedict Okey Oramah;

The plenary session was attended by: Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov; Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation Natalia Bocharova; Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Alexey Gruzdev; Head of Rossotrudnichestvo Evgeniy Primakov; Vice President of the Russian Academy of Science Academician Yuri Balega; Director of the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Academician Alexey Vasiliev; Senator of the Russian Federation and Chairman of Coordination Committee for Economic Cooperation with African Countries Igor Morozov; Russian Export Center CEO Veronika Nikishina; Chairman of the Association of Economic Cooperation with African States (AECAS) Alexander Saltanov; Managing Director for Multilateral Cooperation and Integration of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Sergey Mikhnevich.

 

“First of all, I would like to thank the Russian Academy of Sciences for organzing this type of forum and to express my gratitude to Presidium Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Director of the RAS Institute for African Studies Olga Abramova, it is largely thanks to her that we are opening this event today <…>  It is really important that the academic circles independently assess the condition and the perspectives of our relations with African countries,” said Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov.

 

On the opening session, the African side was represented by: Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Cameroon to the Russian Federation H.E. Mahamat Paba Sale and Rector of the Free University of Kinshasa, Professor Jean Michel Kumbu.

The face-to-face plenary session attended by representatives of state administration of Russia and of African countries, which was broadcast on TASS and RAS Institute of Africa websites, was the starting point for further discussion by the scientists and experts. Within the three days, 48 sections provided opportunities for over 500 leading researchers and specialists from all continents to talk online about a wide range of topics related to Africa

The closing session of the conference moderated by Deputy Director of the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, RAS Corresponding Member Dmitri Bondarenko, featured presentations by Professor of University of South Africa Andreas Velthuizen; Honorary President of the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexey Vasiliev; Deputy Director of the Institute for African Studies Leonid Fituni. The participants unanimously praised the high level of the conference organization and its high academic and applied significance.

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