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.