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Humanitarian Cooperation: Development Goals and Corporate Social Responsibility
23 October 2019
12:30—14:00
KEY CONCLUSIONS
Russia is interested in a long-term and equal partnership with African countries

We view Africa as a partner today. When a number of other countries are on a humanitarian mission on the African continent today, and many of them are using it for their political purposes. We need strong countries. These are countries with their own vote in the UN; these are countries that can support their own position and Russia's one on a large number of international platforms. <...> We are partners. We are friends. We are each other's helpers. But we are independent countries, and each of us should work out their own agenda and policies — Olga Timofeeva, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.

We are not only thinking about short-term business projects, because our projects can never be short-term. Nuclear power plants and their operation is for decades, for over 60 years; operation of a nuclear science and technology centre that incorporates everything from a research reactor to important medical divisions is also decades. That is why our successful work, our joint efforts with our African colleagues is only possible in a well-prepared community. In that sense, we view our presence only as a long-term one and are ready to invest significant resources in our work with local communities and in what is called humanitarian cooperation — Vadim Titov, President, Rusatom-International Network.

ISSUES
A complex humanitarian situation in Africa

We are witnessing the highest level of displacement ever – it is an unprecedented figure: 71 million people around the world who left their homes, and more than half of them under the age of 18. <...> We cannot talk about refugees, displaced persons, the impossibility of settled life, because the key issue is the issue of conflict, armed conflict. And if we do not tackle the root causes, it will be very difficult to make sure that the continent is free and that investors could come to Africa. After Africa is a peaceful continent, <...> we can talk about investment — Valentin Tapsoba, Regional Director of the Southern African Bureau, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The UN estimates that 30 million people in Africa are in need. This figure includes 7.5 million refugees, over 600 thousand asylum-seekers, more than one million stateless persons and more than 18 million internally displaced persons. This is official data. This is the critical humanitarian situation on the continent — Alexey Bobrovsky, Head of the Economic Programme, Russia-24.

Insufficient cultural and educational exchange between Russia and Africa

How much do we know about African culture in general? <...> We have to confess we do not know it. <…> Africa is closer to France, for instance as its former colony. <…> How much do we know about African culture in general? <...> We have to confess we do not know it. <...> France, for instance, Africa, is closer to as a former colony. <...> The same could be said of the British Commonwealth, while we helped during the hard times, during the decolonization, that is it. In terms of its domestic affairs and historical development, Africa is, of course, closer to its parent countries — Eleonora Mitrofanova, Head, Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation.

Every year now, we get 15 thousand people from around the world on a government sponsored basis, including 1.7 thousand – based on the most recent enrolment – from Africa. Is it much or not? No, it is not. <...> We will be expanding this government sponsored practice as a whole, as it has been stated that we should reach 70 thousand, (but) we are not ready yet, because we have physical limitations — Eleonora Mitrofanova, Head, Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation.

SOLUTIONS
More formats to help the ones in need

The first people to help are the local community. They will help people until the international community is able to get involved. Therefore, we should not forget the local communities and what they need, first of all, their daily needs. They need food, clean water, blankets, etc. Of course, they need education for their children. For example, in Uganda, there are 1.4 million refugees, and 150 children in the same class. <...> What will they learn, what will be the result of it? — Valentin Tapsoba, Regional Director of the Southern African Bureau, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

I would like to propose the following format of cooperation in Africa for charitable foundations from all over the world. <...> Jobs should be created in those African countries where there is a need for them. And the charitable foundations that help African countries, should invest part of the money in production, and, first of all, Russian technology could be helpful here — Rasul Botashev, Member of the Committee of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation on International Affairs.

Our technology makes it possible to get water from the largest source without harming the environment. We can get 30–50 thousand litres of water per day from the air outside. <...> Our equipment is already in operation on four continents, including Africa, in such countries as Sierra Leone, Kenya, and some others — Andrey Martirosov, Member of the Board, WaterGen Russia.

Expanding cooperation in education

For Africa, we could, first of all, tune technical education. This is where we are strong and what we are known for. And here, I think we have every opportunity to help create programmes and train teachers — Eleonora Mitrofanova, Head, Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation.

We cannot use quotas to train a lot of people. We could encourage people to study Russian, so that young people on the African continent could travel to study for fee as well. <...> It is necessary for students who study Russian abroad to be able to enrol in Russian universities without having to study Russian here for a year — Rasul Botashev, Member of the Committee of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation on International Affairs.

Together, we must implement meaningful educational projects and support African countries in promoting education in nuclear technology. And in this sense, we are very grateful for the programme, which is being implemented through Rossotrudnichestvo, related to the attraction of foreign students to the Russian Federation. Only under this programme, more than 1.5 thousand students from African countries have received education in industry-specific universities of the Russian Federation. This is the technological and technical elite that in the future will be just behind the nuclear energy projects development, but also in general behind the technological leap that African countries will make in the near future — Vadim Titov, President, Rusatom-International Network.

Improving Russian legislation

Today, we see direct objectives for ourselves: what we can change and where. We see objectives for the development of our humanitarian ties with you. Firstly, it is the recognition of our diplomas and the getting more quotas for students. Almost all countries speak about it. We have to bring together the charity-related legislation and social activities, because we do not want just government programmes, we do not want just to send money to African countries. We want businesses to enter markets and the non-profit segment to work there. <...> We have to provide guarantees for businesses, because businesses that enter a market have a great social role, burden and responsibility, too. <...> We need to guarantee that tomorrow they will stay in the territory — Olga Timofeeva, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS