The Russia-Africa Summit closed on Friday and participants adopted a final declaration. The agreements reached are, let there be no doubt, a far-reaching revival of diplomatic relations between the Slavic nation and the Africans. Perhaps there has not been such an upgrade of diplomatic relations since the fall of the Berlin Wall as this one during the summit.
To this updated return of historical diplomatic ties, let’s add an expansion and deepening of business relations, focused mainly on the natural resources sector, and thirdly on important advances in the construction of geostrategic alliances or what Putin has called the “Global South”.
The action plan adopted jointly will last three years. The Russian government expressed its satisfaction with the results achieved, where the cancellation of 20,000 million euros of the debt of the African countries with Russia, has taken all the headlines.
Russia has strongly renewed its anti-colonialist discourse, which adds another element to its foreign relations policy towards Africa. To the basic notion that grants an important and indispensable role to Africa in the construction of an integrated Global South, which at the same time disregards and transcends Western hegemony, we now add the construction of a post-neoliberal international system.
BIG NEWS FOR AFRICA— Yerwa Express News (@YerwaExpress) July 29, 2023
Russia writes off $23bn debt for Africa – Putin
Vladimir Putin, Russian President, says the Russian Government has written off $23 billion debt burden of African countries.
Putin spoke at the plenary session of the ongoing second Russia–Africa Summit… pic.twitter.com/75R3hosGLP
Russia not only seeks to demonstrate that it is not isolated, but that it is in a position to protect and expand its markets, that global institutions cannot do without its participation. Russia has demonstrated that the absence of a past colonial past in Africa will always maintain a plain point of communication and without misgivings.
The participation of African countries in the summit reaffirmed the continent’s interest in maintaining a neutral position, consensus and promotion of peace and development. After the summit, Africa remains steadfast in its neutrality, recalling that 52 percent of African countries abstained in five UN votes to condemn the debt.
In this sense, they want to give Russia, interested in its proposal as the leading representative of a new South, the same opportunity that has been given to China, and that has been given to other countries and Western powers in the past. Today, Russia does not participate in more than 1 percent of foreign investment in Africa.
In this way, they expect Russia to significantly increase its cooperation for development, and despite the limited capacity of the Slavic country to offer financing and promotion of large infrastructural investments, it has demonstrated competence by collaborating with large state-owned companies, promoting economic cooperation in specific sectors, highlighting nuclear energy and extractive industries.
The African countries also affirm, by attending this summit, that they will not accept that the West defines with which international actors they have the right to interact.
Another point defined at the summit is Russia’s responsibility for grain supplies to the countries of the African continent. Putin assured that his country is able to supply grain, foodstuffs and fertilizers to Africa, much of it free of charge.
“I want to guarantee that our country is able to replace Ukrainian grain both commercially and for free, especially as we expect another record harvest this year”, he added in an appearance at the summit.
In this regard, he criticized the grain agreement that was in place until recently. He stated that it was being “shamelessly used for the enrichment of large American and European companies exporting and reselling grain from Ukraine”.
It seems that agricultural and food systems will become increasingly important as “food power”. It can become the new measure of the power of influence that a country or power may have on world geopolitics, its ability to influence the food sovereignty of other nations or regions. If this is the case, Russia has decided to protect Africa from the decisions it makes in this regard.
Africa, without a clear and precise pronouncement on how it will participate in the construction of an alternative world order led by Russia and China, has made it clear that it will not renounce collaboration with the Slavic nation.
Also, Africa has attended the summit to offer Russia, to offer a possibility of peace in the war with Ukraine. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said his African counterparts expected to continue talks with Putin later Friday on his peace proposal.
“We are hopeful that constructive engagement and negotiation can bring an end to the ongoing conflict (...) our own history has taught us that this is indeed possible.”
The President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, declared in general terms that any conflict driven by ideological issues would only lead to a waste of time and opportunities “the history of mankind will go on, whether they like it or not.”
The Russia-Africa Summit has strengthened relations between the two partners. This link already existed, but was emphasized at this meeting. Russia offers itself as Africa’s ally in building a sovereign future free of foreign debt and the hegemony of the United States and the West. An ally also in development assistance, and an ally driven by ethical reasons, which commit it to disregard issues of economic profit and investment if the circumstances warrant it.
“In general, we highly appreciate the results of our joint work at the summit, I am sure that the results achieved constitute a good basis for further deepening the Russian-African partnership in the interests of prosperity and well-being of our peoples,” the Russian president said while addressing the audience.
Off the agenda was the coup d'état in Niger. Putin called on the parties to the conflict to refrain from the use of force and to resolve their issues through dialogue.