Putin promises food aid as Russia-Africa summit opens

The 2nd Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Summit opened in St. Petersburg on Thursday with Russia seeking to diversify its cooperation in terms of long-term development with Nigeria, Africa.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the event taking place at Expo forum was declared open by the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

With many African leaders in attendance, the forum is featuring 30 panel sessions and thematic events on the most important issues to promote cooperation between Russia and African countries.

According to the Roscongress Foundation, organisers of the event, it aims at bringing about a fundamentally new level of mutually beneficial partnership to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

“The goal of the event is to promote efforts to strengthen comprehensive and equal cooperation between Russia and African nations across all areas of society including politics, security, economic relations, science and technology, and the cultural and humanitarian spheres.

“The forum, which is being held as part of the Second Russia–Africa Summit, is a unique event in Russian-African relations.

“The event is set to diversify the scope and nature of Russian-African cooperation, in turn setting the course of its long-term development.

“Public discussions taking place as part of the event will deal with the most pressing issues on the Russian-African agenda.

“This is taking into account the full extent of cooperation between Russia and the African nations, which extends beyond economic activity, a decision was taken to expand the 2023 edition of the Forum with a significant humanitarian element,’’ the foundation said.

Nigeria is being represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima at the event featuring a large-scale exhibition and a platform for business meetings.

It would be recalled that the first Russia-Africa Summit was held in the resort city of Sochi in October 2019, with the theme: “Peace, Security and Development”.

The first summit was co-chaired by President Putin and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who was the then Chairperson of the African Union.

Russian President, Vladimir Putin, says Russia will supply 50,000 tons of grains to some African countries in the next three months in its bid to ensure food security.

Putin said this on Thursday while declaring the Second Russia–Africa Summit and Economic and Humanitarian Forum 2023 open in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the main theme of this year’s Forum is ‘Technology and Security for Sovereign Development that Benefits People.’

About 17 African countries participating in the summit are represented at the level of head of states.

Putin said Russia would provide the products freely to consumers, adding that with its harvest records it was ready to replace Ukrainian grain exports to Africa on both commercial and aid basis.

“Russia holds a 20 per cent share of the global wheat market. In the first six months of 2023, it has already exported 10 million tons of grain to Africa.

“Russia is ready to provide Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, Somalia, and Eritrea with 25-50 thousand tons of grain each in the next three to four months and ensure its free delivery to consumers,” he said.

Putin said Russia-Africa trade turnover reached 18 billion dollars in 2023, while trade in in agricultural products between Russia and Africa grew by 60 per cent.

Putin also announced the preparation of approximately 30 energy projects involving Russia in Africa, with a total capacity of around 3.7 gigawatts across 16 African countries.

He said Russian oil and gas exports to Africa had increased by 2.6 times, adding that Russia could provide Africa with unique non-energy applications of nuclear technology, including medicine.

“A Russian industrial zone near the Suez Canal in Egypt will soon launch, and its products will be exported throughout Africa.

“Russia is ready to develop Africa’s financial infrastructure and connect them to the Russian payment system.

“Russia promotes the establishment of relations between the Eurasian Economic Union, EAEU, and Africa and will share integration experience of the Union State of Russia and Belarus,” he said.

EAEU is a free trade agreement that came into being in 2015 to increase economic cooperation and raise the standard of living of its members.

Member countries include Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

He, however, suggested the establishment of intergovernmental commissions with all interested countries.

He further said nearly 35,000 African students were studying in Russia, and the number was constantly growing.

“The quota has increased by 2.5 times and will exceed 4,700 persons in 2024,” he added.

He also said Russia would supply 10 mobile laboratories and train hundreds of specialists as part of a joint programme to combat infections with 2.1 billion Rubles allocated for it.

Russia proposes to intensify cooperation in sport and invites African youth to participate in Russian sport events.

“Work is underway to open TASS, Russia Today, RG, and VGTRK media offices in Africa,” he said






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