The Business Council under the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs held a regular meeting chaired by Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on 16 July. The meeting participants focused on developing Russia’s economic ties with African countries as part of preparations for the Russia–Africa Economic Forum and Summit, which will be held on 23–24 October in Sochi. The meeting was attended by representatives of the leadership of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, other concerned ministries and agencies as well as scientific, business, and public circles. Roscongress Foundation Chairman of the Board and CEO Alexander Stuglev also took part in the Business Council meeting.
Much of the meeting agenda was devoted to ways to expand and deepen Russian–African trade, economic, and investment cooperation in the run-up to the Russia–Africa events in Sochi. Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov noted the importance of enhancing the efficiency of political and diplomatic support for Russian business projects on the African continent in order to strengthen the position of the Russian business community on foreign markets. In particular, he said: “Our relations with the Africans, including in trade and economic affairs, are taking on a new level. The first Russia-Africa Summit in history should provide a special impetus to these processes”, Lavrov said.
Anton Kobyakov, Advisor to the Russian President and Executive Secretary of the Organizing Committee in charge of preparing for and holding the Summit and other events in the Russia–Africa format in Russia in 2019, said the Russia–Africa Summit and Russia–Africa Economic Forum are a natural result of the growing interest that both sides have shown in cooperating in recent years. “The Annual Meeting of the African Export-Import Bank held in Moscow in June this year demonstrated that Russia has already accumulated considerable experience in local partnerships on the African continent and established effective communication on ways to develop joint projects. The holding of Russia–Africa Summit and Forum should help Russian representatives to consolidate their positions in one of the centres of global economic growth”, Kobyakov said.