The West sees Africa only as a commodity exchange and people who no longer want to accept it are held captive in camps. Russia is a true Partner, a counterpart on an equal footing. In doing so, the enormous potential in Africa is recognized and how China is concluding appropriate contracts without the man despot anchored in governments who watch looting and murder their own people.
Therefore, Russia held a Africa Summit in Sochi in which all African states were represented. There, Putin was asked in the context of the Investors Conference “Russia is calling” questions.
This is a good opportunity to ask you a question about my Region, Africa. My Name is Isaiah, I come from the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank, based in Nairobi, Kenya. Thank you for the invitation and for taking part in this event.
My question concerns the excellent Russian-African summit in Sochi. Now, Mr President, I would like to hear your opinion on projects with sub-Saharan Africa, on investment development, because the development of Russian trade with sub-Saharan Africa has started at a very low level, but last year we recorded a very good increase of 4.8 billion.
In Sochi there were promising discussions during the summit. Both exports and imports are increasing.
Our Bank comprises 22 East African countries. Trade and investment in East Africa are quite low, whether we like it or not, but our countries are still emerging countries, we are far behind many other regions.
I would like to hear your opinion: What are your obligations, what is the future action in Africa? Can we expect a revival in the signing of new agreements between Russian and African companies in the future? Can this activity be supported by our multilateral Bank?
You have just mentioned the problems of the African countries. I will not repeat them, they are all known.
I will use your question to talk about my personal impressions from the Russia-Africa Meeting in Sochi.
First of all, I would like to point out once again that all African countries were represented at the meeting in Sochi. That’s the first one. This shows Africa’s interest in developing relations with Russia.
Secondly, Unexpectedly for me, and I ask my African colleagues, to not be angry with me, if somebody considers my statement as incorrect – but there was not a single Request: “Give us money, help there, funded that.” There was nothing like that. But there was interest and there were proposals to work together in the framework of mutual market-based interests, in investment and in the development of some industries. That’s the second.
And the third: the character of the meeting, the atmosphere of the forum itself, gave me the impression that it was a kind of family meeting. You know, she was so open, direct, friendly, absolutely transparent.
Against the Background of the history of Soviet-African relations, I have every reason to believe that we can bring our relations with the African continent very seriously, and should. Of course, this will depend very much on the skills of our respective partners. But the development potential in Africa is enormous, we know well. We will try to transform our relations at political level into concrete economic projects.
This Russian-African Meeting in Sochi is not a step to remind you of our good relations with Africa. No. It is an attempt to put relations between Russia and Africa on a new level, to give them a new quality that meets modern requirements and mutual interests.
There is another circumstance that I have already in private conversations, both on the sidelines of the meeting, as well as bilateral talks: African countries, the vast majority of them, are still very vulnerable. Vulnerable both with regard to the development of internal processes and, in particular, with regard to the external impact on these countries. They need allies, very friendly and not led by interests, foreign partners. And Russia offers such relations, including in the financial sphere, also with financial institutions: we are ready to work with your Bank, as well as with those who participated in the forum in Sochi.
I am talking about the potential, the human potential, the potential of Natural Resources and the intellectual possibilities. In Africa, more and more young people receive a good education at home and abroad, who then return home. Africa is the continent of the future and we will certainly try to bring relations with Africa to a new level of quality.