Vladimir Putin spoke at the International Parliamentary Conference “Russia – Africa in a Multipolar World”, held in Moscow. President of Russia said:
- The partnership between Russia and African countries has gained additional momentum and is reaching a whole new level.
- Your conference is undoubtedly important in the context of the continued development of Russia’s multifaceted cooperation with the countries of the African continent. We also consider this event a key part of the preparations for the upcoming second Russia-Africa summit scheduled to be held in St. Petersburg in July.
- I want to emphasise that our country has always and will always consider cooperation with African states a priority. It would not be an exaggeration to say that it is one of the unchanging priorities of Russia’s foreign policy.
- Ever since the African peoples’ heroic struggle for independence, it has been common knowledge that the Soviet Union provided significant support to the peoples of Africa in their fight against colonialism, racism and apartheid, how it helped many African countries to gain and protect their sovereignty, and consistently supported them in building their statehood, strengthening defence capabilities, laying the foundations of their national economies and workforce training. The symbol of this cooperation was the construction by Soviet experts of the Aswan Dam, the largest in Africa. And today, the Russian Federation continues its policy of providing the continent with support and assistance.
- The process of establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area, which began in 2021, opens up additional opportunities. In the future, this zone will become a continental market with a total GDP of more than three trillion dollars. We are in favour of actively developing ties with this new association both within the Eurasian Economic Union and bilaterally.
- Today we are offering new environmentally friendly technologies, primarily in nuclear energy. Rosatom is already building a nuclear power plant in Egypt and plans to expand its involvement in the development of the national energy systems of the African continent. I would like to note that significant, in some countries 100-percent funding is provided by Russia. These are serious projects worth 15, 20 or 25 billion dollars.
- I would like to stress that Russia is reliably fulfilling all its obligations pertaining to the supply of food, fertilisers, fuel and other products that are critically important to the countries of Africa, helping to ensure their food and energy security. You probably know that we are ready to supply some of the resources we have frozen in European countries to countries in need free of charge, including fertilisers; and the first batches have already been sent.
- Russia, guided by the needs of African countries, first and foremost, has recently agreed to extend the agreement concluded in Istanbul on the export of Ukrainian food through the Black Sea and the unblocking of Russian agricultural exports and fertiliser supplies for another 60 days.
- Meanwhile, about 45 percent of the total volume of grain exported from Ukraine went to European countries, and only 3 percent went to Africa.
- I would also like to add that if we decide not to extend this deal after 60 days, Russia will be ready to supply the same amount that was delivered under the deal, from Russia to the African countries in great need, at no expense.
- Cooperation between Russia and African countries in education is at a traditionally high level. Today about 27,000 African students are studying in Russia, including 5,000 whose education is covered by the federal budget. At the same time, the annual quota for state-funded scholarships at Russian universities will be more than doubled. The project of the Russian-African Network University has entered its practical stage.
- During the coronavirus pandemic, Russia was among the first countries to provide African states with large volumes of vaccines, test kits, personal protective equipment, and other medical and humanitarian cargoes.
- We are hard at work preparing for the second Russian-African summit and, of course, we will be glad to see leaders of all African countries, as well as heads of regional organisations, at this forum.
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