Russian Prime Minister, Dimitri Medvedev, has called on Africa and Russia to harness their immense resources to foster greater economic future for their people.
Medvedev made the call at the weekend in Moscow while declaring open the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of shareholders of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) held as part of the bank’s 2019 annual meetings.
He said Africa and Russia account for half the world’s resources, regretting that Russia’s presence in Africa had weakened in the 1990s.
Medvedev, nonetheless, noted that Russia is already promoting humanitarian and economic ties and is determined to ensure that the country’s partnership with Africa becomes a success.
“We are promoting humanitarian ties, both as part of international assistance to Africa’s comprehensive development and on a bilateral basis. In this new era of Russia-African cooperation, the Government of the Russian Federation will do everything in our power to make our partnership a success,” he said.
He emphasised that globalisation had shifted growth to developing countries, making Africa a more important partner for Russia. He called on the continent to tap into Russia’s decades-old business and industrial expertise to boost domestic capacity and exploit opportunities.
In his own remarks, Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, called on partners from across the globe who have shared the vision of a progressive African continent to join hands to move the continent forward, noting that Russia is one of the partners the continent is looking up to.
“The Russian Federation represents one of such partners that Africa looks up to. Russia could be a source of investment goods that Africa needed to develop its infrastructure and could transfer critical technology in digitization and in mining and processing of raw materials. It could also be a source of non-debt creating investments in key areas, such as rail, aviation, healthcare, and petrochemicals,” he said.
“The traditional international relationships of the African continent are changing rapidly as we forge ever closer links with emerging partners who are eager to assist the economic development of Africa through sectoral and infrastructure investments across the continent and embrace ever stronger trading links,” he said.
“Russia, in particular, is forging a new relationship with Africa, as are other South-South emerging partners, which, in tandem with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, gives me great confidence that Africa is well positioned to ride this era of global trade tensions that threaten to damage other continental economies.”
“A resurgent Africa is on a transformative journey of industrialisation and diversification to ensure that we are not over-dependent on our commodities and vast reserves of natural resources. We are heralding a new era of intra-African trade and global trade and investment relationships which will overturn the historic constraints curtailing the past growth and development of Africa’s economies.