Development of trade exchanges between Russia and Africa to be facilitated by transition to national currencies
The State Duma (Russian parliament) in Moscow on 19-20 March holds the II International Russia-Africa Parliamentary Conference aimed at strengthening and developing Russia's relations with the states of the African continent. Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the plenary session. He noted that the partnership between Russia and Africa has gained additional dynamics in recent years.
"We are ready to shape the global agenda together, work together to strengthen fair and equitable interstate relations, improve mechanisms of mutually beneficial economic cooperation," said the head of state.
"Thanks to our assistance many industrial enterprises were built on the continent, entire industries were created, vital infrastructure and social facilities were built. Every year the mutual trade turnover grows, it has reached almost 18 billion dollars by the end of last year"
Vladimir Putin Russian President
Putin also underlined that this is far from the limit. A more energetic transition to national currencies in financial payments and the establishment of new transport and logistics chains will contribute to the development of reciprocal exchanges. According to the Russian leader, additional opportunities are offered by the process of establishment of the African continental free trade zone, which began in 2021 and is expected to become a continental market with a combined GDP of more than $3 trillion.
In addition, Putin announced his intention to step up cooperation with African countries in the fields of medicine and healthcare, biological and epidemiological security.
"To this end, Russia is ready to transfer mobile laboratories with equipment, modern medicines, and train specialized specialists to Africans," said the Russian president.
The plenary session was also addressed by Valentina Matvienko, Chairman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. She spoke about the marked intensification of contacts between Russia and the states of the African continent.
"Delegations of the Federation Council have paid official visits to a number of African countries. Moreover, Russian senators attended the 145th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union hosted by Rwanda. Last November, the Federal Assembly of Russia was granted the observer status in the African Parliamentary Union, which creates additional opportunities to intensify our parliamentary dialogue," she said.
"An important contribution to strengthening our contacts is the work of Russian senators in bilateral dialogue mechanisms. The Federation Council has groups for cooperation with colleagues from African states. We are keen to see the number of such groups grow. The development of energy potential of the African continent, its transport infrastructure, agricultural sector, the introduction of new technologies in the mining industry, increasing access of Africans to modern forms of medical care is on the agenda"
Valentina Matvienko Chairman of the Federation Council
She noted that inter-regional cooperation is an important resource in this regard as well. Most of Russia's regions have partners in the regions of African states. The Federation Council will continue to support this format of cooperation, noted the Speaker of the Federation Council.
Besides, the event was attended by parliamentarians of Benin, Guinea-Bissau, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso and other African states.
On the eve, were held a number of discussions on cooperation between Russia and Africa in various areas, one of them is science and education. The key topic of the profile round table was the popularization of Russian education in Africa. According to Irina Abramova, Director of the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), a prerequisite for achieving economic sovereignty is the progress in science and education technologies. "I think Russia should emphasise these areas in its cooperation with Africa," she said.
On Sunday, 19 March, parliamentarians from Russia and the African continent also looked at opportunities to develop cooperation in the energy sector. According to Pavel Zavalny, Chairman of the Committee of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation on Energy, this particular sector is one of the most promising areas of economic cooperation between Russia and African states "The development and harmonisation of energy legislation can play an important role in stimulating mutually beneficial energy cooperation between Russia and African countries," he stressed.
African politicians also discussed with their Russian colleagues the unification of efforts to ensure global security. The two sides noted the importance of inter-parliamentary dialogue on this issue.
Photo: kremlin.ru, screenshot of the State Duma broadcast