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Russia–Africa
7 June 2019
12:00—13:15
KEY CONCLUSIONS
African countries are on a dynamic development track

Our average growth rate is 5%. We can make Africa a new development space — Daniel Kablan Duncan, Vice President of the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire.

In the past 20 years we saw a great deal of change. Education indices have improved significantly — Charles Robertson, Global Chief Economist, Renaissance Capital .

So many changes, so many challenges the [African, – Ed.] continent had to face. Despite it all, the continent continues developing. The economic growth rate is great. When it comes to digitalization and implementation of new technologies, the continent is showing great results. [Africa] is a dynamically developing unified market, we have a free-trade zone now. In essence, 1.3 billion people represent an enormous trade partnership. Our middle class came around and is growing: we expect it to grow threefold by 2050 — Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, African Union Commission.

Cooperation between Russia and African countries has a long history and continues

It will not be an exaggeration to say that the Russian-African relations have grown significantly more active across all areas and the year 2019 will be truly special in this regard. Political dialogue on various levels of government, visits between diplomatic institutions, interparliamentary contacts are developing steadily. Continuous work is being carried to expand commercial cooperation, goods turnover, the variety of exported and imported items. Overall, there is positive interaction in education, science, culture, sports, and healthcare. There are nearly 15 thousand students from the African continent studying in Russian universities — Mikhail Bogdanov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa .

The Soviet Union played a very important role in the African emancipation. It supported the liberation movement and thus made African political independence possible. <…> Today, I am excited to see that during the past few years the Russian government has made a conscious decision to renew close ties with Africa. We already see the results. Russian-African trade is constantly growing by 1–4%. Even in 2017–2018, we saw a nearly USD 20 billion growth. It shows potential. Additionally, Russia made a decision to join Afreximbank — Benedict Okey Oramah, President, Chairman of the Board of Director, The African Export Import Bank.

The upcoming Russia–Africa Summit will jumpstart cooperation

The first ever large-scale Russia–Africa Summit aims to give a new push to the development of an entire range of communications. A number of bilateral and multilateral agreements is expected to be signed on the sidelines of the event. Apart from intergovernmental agreements, we are talking about trade and investment contracts — Mikhail Bogdanov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa .

We are on the threshold of the largest Russian-African event ever: it is only a few months away. I believe it is a big responsibility for both of us. For Russia it has to be a new approach to interaction and to our return to Africa. For out African partners it is an opportunity to take part in the principles and rules that will be discussed on this high-level event — Nataliya Zaiser, Chair of the Board, Africa Business Initiative UNION; Executive Secretary, Russian National Committee, World Energy Council (WEC).

ISSUES
Underdeveloped infrastructure in Africa’s transport, energy and finance

What problems did we face [in Africa, – Ed.]? Above all, it is financing. And colossal infrastructural problems. Fertilizer is a heavy product. It needs to be brought in, packaged, delivered, and so on — Dmitry Konyaev, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors, URALCHEM JSC.

Indeed, [infrastructure, – Ed.] is a very serious issue. We have railroads but that is not the end of it. There is no communication of this kind between countries — Isabel Jose dos Santos, Chairman, Unitel SA.

Most African countries are facing difficulties: energy is a deficit — Raila Odinga, Prime Minister of Kenya in 2008–2013.

Any country needs to be electrified in order to succeed — Charles Robertson, Global Chief Economist, Renaissance Capital .

African economy depends on natural resources

African economy accounts only for 5% of the global, which is obviously not a good number. Most of the export is in raw materials — Sylvie Baipo-Temon, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Central Africans Abroad of the Central African Republic.

Russian business is not demonstrating enough interest towards Africa

Many Russian companies are not aware of the opportunities in Africa today. They do not know that the African market can be promising for Russian goods. It is a market that needs Russia — Benedict Okey Oramah, President, Chairman of the Board of Director, The African Export Import Bank.

It would be great to see more interest from Russian business and investors — Isabel Jose dos Santos, Chairman, Unitel SA.

SOLUTIONS
Stimulating cooperation, including along the EAEU line

One of the most efficient ways for the Eurasian Economic Union and the African continent to get closer is working together with African regional organizations, such as the African Union. We are confident that thanks to our cooperation with the African Union we are able to exchange integration experience and economic agendas. We need to expand our geography in Africa, as currently 80% of the EAEU–Africa trade happens between just 5 African countries. Naturally, we are interested in establishing dialogue with subregional [African, – Ed.] organizations — Tatyana Valovaya, Member of the Board – Minister in Charge of Integration and Macroeconomics, Eurasian Economic Commission .

We must stimulate private and state investments through innovative mechanisms. Future cooperation between Russia and Africa can contribute to the creation of integrated, peaceful, and prosperous Africa. Considering the possibilities and interests of Russia, combined with the needs of African countries, we have ample cooperation possibilities — Daniel Kablan Duncan, Vice President of the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire.

We do not have any other alternative [but] to promote our interest in Africa. Africa is a continent that always treated us in a special way. <…> It is an enormous market for Russian structures that are not related to natural resources or large-scale infrastructure projects. It is a possibility to bring forth our strengths that are not as well-known in Africa: services, supply of non-standardized products and technologies — Boris Ivanov, Managing Director, GPB Global Resources .

Raising business awareness about the potential of African and Russian markets

The task is to develop communication between those who trade in Russia and in Africa and raise the awareness of the possibilities that exist in the African continent — Benedict Okey Oramah, President, Chairman of the Board of Director, The African Export Import Bank.

Our strategic goal is to grow the non-commodity export by 2024. Russian products are unknown in Africa and before we start financing anything, we need to show people what we are capable of — Nikita Gusakov, General Director, EXIAR.

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS