Before the session, the heads of delegations attending the summit posed for photographs.
Following the plenary sessions of the second Russia–Africa Summit, a package of documents was adopted and memoranda were signed.
Following the sessions, the President of Russia and Chairperson of the African Union, President of the Union of the Comoros Azali Assoumani made statements for the media.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Assoumani, heads of state and government, heads of delegations, friends and colleagues,
I am delighted to welcome you to the plenary session of the second Russia–Africa Summit. Delegates from the overwhelming majority of African states and the heads of leading regional organisations have come here, which is convincing proof of the mutual striving of our nations to develop cooperation in all areas and to strengthen honest, open and constructive partnership.
Traditionally strong bonds of friendship and close and mutually beneficial relations link Russia and Africa. Their foundations were laid in the mid-20th century during the struggle of the African continent’s peoples for their freedom.
For decades, we invariably provided support during the African countries’ difficult fight against colonialism. Unfortunately, some manifestations of colonialism have not been eradicated to this day, and former colonial powers still practice them, including in the economic, information and humanitarian spheres.
Russia remembers and cherishes the memory of Africa’s outstanding sons. I will name them, friends. We must remember them, and we must never forget them. I will name Patrice Lumumba, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Nelson Mandela, Ahmed Ben Bella, Omar al-Mukhtar, Kwame Nkrumah, Samora Machel, Leopold Senghor, Kenneth Kaunda and Julius Nyerere. We also remember other African freedom fighters and national leaders of African countries. While relying on the principles of justice and equality, they staunchly promoted independent development for their nations, often sacrificing their lives.
These ideals of freedom, independence and sovereignty are also very important now in the difficult period of international turbulence, when a truly multipolar world order is evolving and the era of domination by one country or a group of countries is coming to an end. However, those who are used to their exceptionalism and monopoly in global affairs are resisting this. Therefore, it is no coincidence that the theme of the second Russia-Africa Summit is For Peace, Security and Development, and that the summit is not only focused on the further development of Russian-African strategic cooperation but also on the pivotal issues of global and regional stability, sustainable development of the continent, and the strengthening of all aspects of African countries’ sovereignty.
Russia and African states call for building a new, fairer global architecture, are working together to protect international law, the UN Charter and the central role of that global organisation and are trying to coordinate their positions on the main issues on the international agenda. It is notable that our positions on many issues are very close or fully coincide. This can be discerned from the main provisions of the political declaration, which has been prepared for approval at the summit.
Russia and African countries are strengthening cooperation in preventing the proliferation of the terrorist threat and in responding to information security challenges. We stand together against the use of the climate change and human rights issues and the so-called gender agenda for unsavoury political purposes. We also reject unlawful practices such as unilateral sanctions and restrictive but actually punitive measures, which harm the countries that pursue independent policies, create global economic problems and hinder development.
Naturally, we do not accept the replacement of international law with the so-called rules-based order, which some countries have declared and which they keep changing, transforming and juggling with. Overall, it is not clear what these rules are and who formulated them. But it is clear that certain countries are using them for their own mercenary interests and adjusting them to the political situation.
Importantly, Russia and Africa share the inherent commitment to standing up for genuine sovereignty and the right to follow their own unique development path in the political, economic, social, cultural and other areas. However, this aspiration to independence and sovereignty does not mean self-isolation. On the contrary, it implies being open to cooperating with free nations and states who are equals and enjoy the same rights.
Sovereignty cannot be viewed as something that can be achieved once and for all. It is something that you must fight for all the time. In this connection, I would like to recall the words of Nelson Mandela who said: “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” The same goes for state sovereignty: it must be protected at all times – giving up on it or taking a step back under external pressure is not an option. The aspiration for independence entails standing up for one’s sovereignty and proactively contributing to the emergence of a multipolar system based on the equality of states. I am confident that there is solidarity on this matter between Russia and African countries.
I would like to note that the African continent is emerging as a new centre of power right before our eyes. It has been demonstrating exponential growth in terms of its political and also economic roles. Everyone will have to reckon with this objective reality.
Take, for example, the initiative by several African countries to resolve the Ukraine crisis. This is an urgent issue and we have never sought to avoid discussing it. The very existence of this initiative is quite telling since the so-called developed democracies used to hold a monopoly when it came to undertaking mediation missions of any kind. But this is no longer the case, and now Africa is ready to help bring about solutions to problems which may seem to lie outside of its immediate sphere of interests.
We respect your initiatives and have been diligent and attentive when examining them.
African regional structures have substantially enhanced their profiles. This primarily applies to the African Union, which represents the voices and aspirations of the entire macroregion. Russia proactively supported the initiative to grant the African Union membership in the Group of 20. This would be the right decision reflecting the reality and the balance of power in today’s world.
We are open to working with other regional integration associations in Africa too. Yesterday, we held a special meeting with their senior executives and put forward the initiative to promote cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Union and the African Continental Free Trade Area within the African Union. This would enable us to explore opportunities for ensuring connectivity between the integration processes carried out by these organisations.
Of course, we share the African countries’ aspiration to be more involved in the activities of the United Nations. We note the active position of the African Union on this.
We are ready to consider, in practical terms, proposals for expanding the representation of African structures, and Africans in general, in UN bodies, including in the context of the reform of the Security Council currently under development. We believe that the time has come to correct the historical injustices afflicted on the African continent.
We also must admit that the situation in many regions of Africa is still unstable. Ethnic conflicts have not been resolved, and acute political and socioeconomic crises persist. This, of course, is a heavy legacy of the colonial era, the “divide and rule” course that the Western metropolises pursued in Africa.
The development of the continent is hampered by terrorism, the spread of extremist ideology, transnational crime, and piracy. Russia also offers its assistance in countering these threats. We are interested in the closest cooperation between Russian and African law enforcement agencies and special services.
We intend to continue training the military personnel and law enforce officers of African countries in Russian specialised educational institutions. Today, military personnel from many African countries are studying at the universities of the Russian Defence Ministry.
In order to strengthen the defence capabilities of African countries, we are developing partnerships in the military and military-technical fields. Russia has concluded military-technical cooperation agreements with more than 40 African countries, to which we supply a wide range of weapons and equipment. Some of these deliveries are carried out free of charge in order to strengthen the security and sovereignty of these countries.
Our African colleagues take an active part in military-technical forums and exercises held by Russia, where they get acquainted with samples of advanced weaponry, military equipment, and its use.
In general, Russia’s attention to Africa is steadily growing, which is evident in our plans to increase our diplomatic presence on the continent. We are ready to restore and open new Russian foreign missions and to increase the staff at a number of existing embassies. This is a real practical step towards significantly intensifying our work with African countries in the political, business and humanitarian spheres, as well as in culture and tourism.
For example, after a multi-year hiatus, Russian embassies in Burkina Faso and Equatorial Guinea will soon resume operation. We are also planning to expand the network of Russian centres of science and culture, or Russian Houses, as they are also known. They are already working successfully in eight African countries and will soon open in a number of other countries.
For our part, we would welcome reciprocal steps by our African friends and will support the opening of new embassies, consulates and other representative offices of African countries.
A few words about economic and humanitarian cooperation with Africa. The forum held yesterday showed that both Russia and African countries really want to strengthen cooperation in these areas. And I can tell you frankly, our entrepreneurs have much to offer our partners from Africa.
Despite the difficult conditions in global markets, trade with Africa is steadily growing. It is clear that the current level is far from the limit. In absolute terms, expanding trade is a goal that we should have set for ourselves. It remains quite modest for now. A more energetic transition to national currencies in settlements and the establishment of new transport and logistics chains will contribute to the growth and diversification of Russian-African trade.
Realising the importance of an uninterrupted food supply for the socioeconomic development and political stability of African states, we are increasing agricultural supplies to Africa. Thus, in 2022, 11.5 million tonnes of grain were delivered to African countries, and in the first six months of this year alone, we supplied almost 10 million tonnes. This is despite the illegal sanctions imposed on our exports, which seriously hinder the supply of Russian food, complicate transport logistics, insurance and bank payments.
Let me emphasise once again: I can assure you, friends, that Russia will always be a responsible international supplier of agricultural products. We will continue to support the countries and regions most in need. We will supply them with our grain and other food products, including free of charge and within the framework of the UN World Food Programme.
Yesterday, as you know, we announced plans to deliver to six African countries between 25,000 and 50,000 tonnes of grain each at no cost.
Overall, Russia upholds its commitment to facilitating development of the African continent in all possible ways by not only delivering humanitarian aid there, but also through trade preferences, helping to create modern manufacturing sectors, develop agriculture and assist Africa through specialised international bodies and agencies.
In particular, between 2020 and 2023 Russia carried out 11 bilateral humanitarian initiatives in 10 African countries. We were among the first to help African countries during the coronavirus pandemic by shipping millions of test kits for free, delivering mobile medical laboratories, and equipping a centre specialised in studying infections.
Russia also contributes to efforts to ease the debt burden African countries are facing. The total debt Russia has cancelled so far stands at $23 billion. We will allocate over 90 million more for development purposes at the request of African countries.
In conclusion, I would like to emphasise once again that we are sincere in our commitment to working together with our African friends to promote a forward-looking vision, genuine strategic cooperation, and partnership.
We value our relations with each African country and the continent as a whole and are certain that these relations have a bright future in the emerging multipolar world.
Thank you for your attention. Thank you very much.
Allow me to give the floor to Chairperson of the African Union, President of the Union of the Comoros Azali Assoumani.
Please, Mr Assoumani, the floor is yours.
Chairperson of the African Union and President of the Union of the Comoros Azali Assoumani (retranslated): Your Excellency President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, heads of state, Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission,
May the mercy and blessing of Allah be upon you.
Mr President, thank you for giving me the floor. I would like to sincerely thank you once again for the warm and cordial reception. Thank you for receiving us at this summit today. We appreciate the dinner that you offered us yesterday; that was a very wonderful dinner with superb accompaniment. This highlighted the cultural potential of the beautiful city of St Petersburg once again.
I would like to note exemplary cooperation between our continent and your country once again. We have extremely hardworking people, creativity and resilience, and all this evokes respect. This exemplary quality was confirmed during our work yesterday, which took place in very good conditions, and this made it possible to sign multiple agreements. This will have a positive impact on our cooperation.
I would like to note that our partnership has a great future, especially if we actively involve young people and women. This is the future of our countries, and we must instil the values of entrepreneurship in them.
This will also help improve the business climate in the African Union countries. Initiatives for promoting domestic and foreign investment are also very important: the amazingly lively young African people, creative start-ups, small and medium-sized businesses. We are working actively in the field of research and science despite the shortage of funding.
We must heed each other’s priorities, as well as the African Union’s Agenda 2063. This will contribute to sustainable growth in the Russian Federation and the African Union.
The African Union is becoming involved in the economic transformation. Of course, Russia will take part in investment projects, and it will also use our numerous resources.
We want to build an economic and social Africa that would become integrated with the rest of the world. Of course, we must develop trade and investment in accordance with our common goals.
As regards training in digital technology, Russia has made immense progress. We must develop human capital to work in this area and enhance and support sustainable development to engage the maximum number of young people.
As regards peace, security, democracy, and human rights – obviously, we greatly appreciate some of our partners. However, we ask certain partners not to interfere in our internal affairs. We stand against unconstitutional changes as what sometimes takes place on our continent will not benefit our countries. We, the African Union, condemn the unconstitutional changes that have taken place in Niger, and we join the international community in this regard.
I would like to mention bilateral cooperation between the Comoros and Russia. In the 1980s, the Union of the Comoros received the opportunity for hundreds of its students to get education in the Soviet Union, and today these specialists hold highly important decision-making positions in our country, particularly in business and economic sectors. Some of them are members of my delegation, many working as interpreters. We thank you for this friendly and efficient cooperation.
I am confident that all my colleagues present here appreciate this cooperation with Russia and are willing to enhance it in the hope that our relations, which have been hindered by the Russia-Ukraine crisis, will resume after its resolution.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much, Mr Chairperson. Thank you for the praise you expressed about yesterday’s evening event. I think it was really substantial. I am glad you liked it, and I hope that other participants did so as well. Our cultural figures wanted to both place emphasis on Russia’s cultural heritage, of which we are proud and on the connection between our cultures. I think we have succeeded, especially at the concluding stage of yesterday’s event.
Thank you very much for your remarks. You have mentioned many interesting aspects.
I would like to particularly note your remarks concerning the youth, a very sensitive issue. Africa is filled with much young talent, and the fact that many of those present here still speak fluent Russian many years after they received their education in the Soviet Union is proof of the quality of human capital in Africa.
Thank you very much.
I give the floor to Interim President of Burkina Faso Ibrahim Traore. Mr Traore, go ahead.
Interim President of Burkina Faso Ibrahim Traore (retranslated): Mr President Vladimir Putin,
Mr Chair of the African Union, heads of delegations, good afternoon.
It is a great honour for me to address you today and to bring you the brotherly greetings of our peoples. First of all, I would like to thank the Almighty for allowing us to meet here and to talk about the future welfare of our peoples.
I would also like to apologise to the elders. Please, forgive me if I have wronged you in any way. My generation is asking many questions without getting any answers, but we feel at home, in our family here.
Russia is part of the family for Africa, because we have the same history. Russia has suffered many losses to liberate Europe and the rest of the world from Nazism during the Second World War. We also have the same history in that we are the forgotten nations of the world. This has to do with films and books. The role of Africa and Russia in combating Nazism has been mostly forgotten. We have come together today because we need to talk about our countries’ future. What will happen tomorrow in this new, free world which we are striving for, a world without interference in our internal affairs? We have the same prospects. I hope that this summit will give us an opportunity to strengthen ties between our nations.
I cannot understand why Africa, with its huge mineral resources, water and sun, is the poorest continent where hunger abounds, and why we have to ask for help. We ask these questions, but we are not getting any answers. We have a chance to build a new kind of relations. I hope that these relations will serve us better and will allow us to create a better future for our peoples.
I can say on behalf of my generation that many people, driven by poverty, cross the oceans in search of a better life, and many of them die. Our people are starving and struggling to stay alive.
As for Burkina Faso, for the past eight years we have been fighting the most barbaric and cruel form of colonialism and imperialism, which are forcing a modern form of slavery on us. We have learned one thing very well: a slave who cannot protest deserves nothing more than pity, and his future is miserable. We did not wait for anybody to take care of us. We decided to fight the terrorists who are preventing our development.
In this struggle, our courageous people decided to take up arms against terrorism. We were surprised to learn that imperialists refer to them as armed groups or militarised groups, while calling people in Europe who take up arms to defend their homeland patriots. Our forefathers were deported to save Europe, and this happened against their will. But when they came back and tried to assert their basic rights, they faced cruel repression.
The problem is not when people decide to take up arms. The problem is that the leaders of African countries do not bring anything to people fighting imperialism, calling us armed groups or criminals. We do not agree with this approach. We, the heads of African states, must stop acting as puppets ready to act whenever the imperialists pull the strings.
Yesterday, President Putin announced grain deliveries to Africa, and we were very glad to hear about it and are grateful for this decision. This also sends a message to the heads of African states because we must make sure that before we come here for the next forum, we ensure that our nations are self-sufficient and have the food they need. We must rely on the experience of African countries who have been able to achieve this objective and reinforce our cooperation in this field by strengthening our relations with the Russian Federation in order to meet the needs of our people.
I am almost out of time, but I would like to say that we mut pay tribute to our nations who fight and struggle. Glory to our nations! Dignity and respect for our nations! Victory to our nations! Thank you, comrades. Homeland or death!
Vladimir Putin: Thank you, Mr Traore.
I wanted to draw your attention to the fact that my colleague has just mentioned Russia’s role in fighting Nazism. Some are trying to forget about this and to erase this memory. However, the Soviet Union and Russia led this struggle for the sake of all humankind, to rid the whole world of Nazism.
I would like to point out that Africa has also fought for its independence and against apartheid, and not only for its own sake. In fact, it waged this struggle in the interests of all of humanity because this struggle brings about results which elevate relations around the world to a whole new level. This means that these efforts improve the situation around the world. In this sense, I definitely agree with Mr Traore. The struggles the Soviet Union had to wage and what is happening now with Russia are very much similar to what Africa experienced as it fought for achieving genuine independence and freedom.
I am pleased to give the floor to President of the Republic of Cameroon Paul Biya. Mr Biya, go ahead please.
President of the Republic of Cameroon Paul Biya (retranslated): Mr President of the Russian Federation,
First of all, I would like to thank you on behalf of our delegation and me personally for the warm fraternal welcome that was extended to us in the beautiful city of St Petersburg.
At the same time, I would like to thank you on behalf of all African nations for organising this summit, which, of course, will help promote mutual understanding between Africa and the Russian Federation. Perhaps many are surprised at the Russian Federation’s interest in Africa today. In this regard, I must stress, and everyone knows this, that in the 1960s we achieved independence after a long struggle, and back then Russia provided huge and sincere assistance to Africa. We would like to once again thank your great country for this help.
Today’s summit is dedicated to cooperation. This cooperation has always brough excellent results for Africa.
Today the world is facing a large number of problems, such as draught and economic crises, to say nothing of the coronavirus pandemic. It was a new page in our history. But we must not forget about other problems, too, such as skyrocketing inflation and economic problems. In the face of these problems, we are calling for the kind of cooperation that the Russian Federation has always had with us. I believe that together we will be able to offer our nations new solutions to all problems.
There are more than a billion people in Africa, but we are underrepresented in international organisations, in particular, in the United Nations. We hope for Russia’s support in rectifying the current unfair situation.
I would also like to say that the development problems in our countries are still very acute, the current crisis has further complicated the situation, and, like in the past, we hope that Russia will support us, in particular, in finding financial resources. We would like, for example, to appeal to the IMF and other financial institutions to resolve our problems.
We must also cooperate in order to resolve security issues and combat terrorism. Russia renders assistance to many countries around the world in the fight against terrorism. And Africa today is facing this problem, as well as a whole range of other problems. We hope that we will be able to resolve them together.
I will not list all the difficulties, all the problems. Once again, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Russian Federation and its leadership for helping African countries in their fight against economic problems.
Our students are trained at Russian universities. They return to our country with new knowledge, and for this we would also like to thank Russia.
I would like this summit to further strengthen the ties between the Russian Federation and Africa.
Vladimir Putin: Our colleague has just said that some people find Russia’s growing attention toward Africa perplexing. I don’t think they are being perplexed by this process, but rather they are being somewhat wary of it. That said, what I find perplexing is that there was a point at which Russia started paying less attention toward Africa. We did not give Africa the attention it deserved even though we had a decades-long positive track record in this region.
Considering Africa’s future, its potential, and our achievements over the past decades, it was quite natural for Russia and Africa to seek to rebuild their ties. This process will only gain momentum moving forward. The fact that we are working together today is an attempt to move in this direction.
Thank you very much.
I now give the floor to Mr Touadera, President of the Central African Republic.
President of the Central African Republic Faustin-Archange Touadera (retranslated): Thank you. Your Excellency Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, Chairperson of the African Union, heads of state, ladies and gentlemen.
Today, I am speaking on behalf of the Central African Republic at the plenary session of the Second Russia-Africa Summit, held in the beautiful city of St Petersburg.
I would like to thank the Russian Federation for the resolve with which it has been supporting Africa in its fight for sovereignty and for our rights as per the UN Charter.
I would like to thank the President of the Russian Federation, the leaders and the people of Russia for the wonderful organisation of this summit and for their cooperation with Africa. Our country, the Central African Republic, has benefitted from Russia’s assistance despite all the geopolitical, environmental, and energy-related issues. Our friendly ties are at an all-time high.
Russia and the Central African Republic have developed very deep ties. Geopolitical challenges have not stopped Russia from assisting our country, especially our armed forces and security agencies in their fight against those terrorist organisations that attacked our capital, Bangui, in 2021.
Our countries and our peoples have established ties which helped save democracy in our country. We held a free and democratic election and avoided a new civil war, which would have had disastrous consequences.
On behalf of the people and the Government of the Central African Republic, allow me to express my gratitude to the authorities and leadership of the Russian Federation. It is our cooperation and Russia’s support that placed our country on the path to prosperity and peace.
There is no shortage of summits these days, and many promises are made, but not all of them materialise. Today, we are enduring a food and climate crises. Africa needs reliable economic and financial partners and wants to build diplomatic relations based on equality, mutual respect and mutually beneficial cooperation.
The Central African Republic has lived in a subordinate state and endured the colonial yoke for a long time. Since 2016, our country entered a new stage in its history. Today, we are seeking to diversify our diplomatic relations and promote bilateral ties with all countries who are willing to engage with us by establishing economic relations and undertaking various programmes.
This year the Russia-Africa Summit has an important humanitarian aspect to it. For us, it is an opportunity to resist the hegemony of certain international actors. Through our innovative cooperation with Russia, we seek practical and lasting solutions for our country and the entire African continent.
Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Our country, with its minerals and nature, possesses immense wealth, but today we need more than to simply use up these resources. The brunt of the colonial yoke continues to weigh on us. We, the Central African Republic, invite all nations and all countries around the world to engage in mutually beneficial and effective cooperation within an international order based on the UN Charter. The African countries want their ideals to become a reality that would allow them to achieve peace, security and harmonious development.
Vladimir Putin: Our colleague has just spoken highly of our interstate relations.
First, let me assure you that we will make sure to maintain this level of relations in all of our most sensitive areas. Make no mistake about that.
It goes without saying that we need to do much more, and we have ample opportunities for that: we will do this and will move in this direction. There is no doubt about that.
I will now give the floor to President of the Republic of Uganda Yoweri Museveni.
President of the Republic of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni: Your Excellency President Vladimir Putin, your excellencies the African heads of state and government, the people of Uganda send you greetings and well wishes.
I have the highly good fortune of watching and participating in freedom activities in our area for the last 60 years plus. In order to understand the struggles we have been involved in, we should be reminded that by 1900, the whole of Africa had been colonised, except for Ethiopia. This colonisation followed 500 years of taking slaves from Africa and the devastation that criminal trade caused.
It was not only Africa that was colonised, but also much of Asia, India, Indonesia, Indochina, Burma, the Philippines, Malaysia, etc., and the subjugation and extermination of the indigenous people of the Americas and Australia.
However, these criminal acts by the imperialists, the slave trade and colonialism provoked the colonised people into launching a resistance movement by some of the Black people in the United States of America in the persons of DuBois and George Padmore who launched the pan-African movement. This was the first step.
Secondly, in 1912, the African National Congress of South Africa was launched, led by new resistance fighters, different from before, when the leaders of the resistance were the kings and chiefs, such as Kabalega of Uganda, Mkwawa of Tanzania, Lobengula of Zimbabwe, one of Uganda.
Thirdly, the huge country of the Soviet Union was taken over by Communists in 1917 and so was the huge country of China in 1949. Those Communists were staunch anti-imperialists.
Fourthly, it was our good fortune that the greedy imperialists started fighting among themselves over us. I am referring here to the so-called First and Second World Wars. In effect, these were imperialist wars vying for domination of the world. In those wars, imperialists weakened themselves to the advantage of the anti-colonial movements. That is how India, Pakistan, Indonesia, etc., got independence. Some of the imperialists tried to cling to colonies but were defeated in Algeria, Vietnam, Kenya, Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Cabo Verde, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa.
Fifthly, even within the imperialist countries, we had allies that were against the evil system. People like Dingle Foot, Olof Palme were with us and with our parents before us in opposing this evil system.
It is these five factors that caused the defeat of imperialism and restored our sovereignty – to some extent. These are, again, anti-colonial movements in Africa, Asia and Latin America, the rise of Communism in the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, North Korea, etc. The two inter-imperialist wars of the last century that caused the weakening of the imperialists and imperialist countries to our advantage, even when our parents were used as cannon fodder in those criminal wars fighting the Japanese in Burma, Italians in Ethiopia, the Germans in North Africa and Europe. Then fifth, the pan-African movement launched by some of the Black people in the United States of America with the support of the fair-minded persons in the imperialist countries, persons, as I earlier said, like Dingle Foot and Olof Palme.
We are therefore happy to be here in Russia and we take this opportunity to thank the Soviet people and other socialist countries for that support.
However, the independence of most African countries does not mean healthy disengagement with the imperialist economies. Up to now, many of the African economies still face the bottlenecks and distortions of the colonial era. Although some progress has been achieved, a lot remains to be done. That is why you hear that GDP of Africa is currently $2.7 trillion smaller than the individual economies of countries such as Japan, Germany, etc. Not to mention the US or China.
This standing of the African economies is caused by a number of bottlenecks that I may not have time to enumerate here. However, we have identified them and are handling them together with our brothers in the African Union.
However, one example can bring out some of these bottlenecks. This is the issue of coffee. The global value of coffee businesses currently is $460 billion. This is the value of the coffee in the world. However, all the coffee producing countries in the world – Africa, Brazil, Colombia, Vietnam, all of us – take only $25 billion out of this. The coffee business in the world is $460 billion. All of us, the coffee producers of the world, our share is only $25 billion. Africa’s share is $2.5 billion. Out of the $460 billion, Africa’s share is $2.5 billion with Uganda taking $800 million although it produces 800 million bags of 60 kilograms each. Germany, a non-coffee producing country, earns US dollars from coffee, $6.85 billion dollars from coffee, more than all the coffee-producing countries in Africa.
My young friend from Burkina Faso was asking about what the problem is. I could see he was very worried, our young friend. So, I have the answer here: this is part of modern slavery, this is modern slavery.
What is causing this? Africa being locked into and also locking itself into only producing raw materials from agriculture, minerals etc. and abstaining from adding value. A kilogram of good coffee today earns about $2.50. The same kilogram roasted and processed outside Africa earns about $40. So, we get $2.5 per kilo of coffee, and someone who is clever outside gets $40. This is the haemorrhage that has stunted Africa’s growth.
There are other bottlenecks, but I do not have time to go into them. Therefore, my proposal to our allies over Russia, India, China, etc. is to point out to them that they could help here by pursuing decisions to buy value-added products from Africa rather than raw materials. Those are products like processed coffee instead of bean coffee, chocolate instead of cocoa beans, textiles instead of just cotton, steel instead of iron ore, our iron ore, electric batteries rather than just lithium, etc.
But of the issues we are solving among ourselves in Africa is the issue of the free flow of goods and services in the Continental Free Trade Area. If this is addressed, the other problems of food which people are talking about – so am I – for African societies will also be partially addressed. In Uganda, we don’t have the problem of food. Uganda is a net exporter of food. Products like maize, milk, bananas, fruits, fish, cassava, not to mention beverages like coffee, tea, cocoa, vanilla etc. are produced in big quantities, and with irrigation bigger quantities are possible. Without irrigation, our farmers produce 5.3 tons of bananas per hectare. With irrigation and fertilisers, this production has gone to 53 tons per hectare in some of the government-supported farms.
It is therefore important for our partners to know that some of the African countries such as Uganda produce huge quantities of food and moreover, food of unique nutritional value, beef with yellow fat instead of the cholesterol-laden types you get from many parts of the world, potassium-rich bananas, high-cream milk, fish, which is a cure for some maladies, packed with proteins, carbohydrates and iron together.
What we actually need are markets, both in Africa and beyond. This is part of the problem. Some of the African countries have got a lot of food but cannot sell it to other countries because of the trade barriers within Africa.
Secondly, you could also encourage your companies to invest in value addition in Africa. Definitely, this will be a win-win formula for all of us. Value addition to the abundant raw materials in Africa means more jobs for the unemployed African youth that are dying in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe and more money in their pockets. They will then afford to pay for more electricity generated by turbines made from outside which could get more jobs and money for the turbine producers outside.
After some delays we in Africa are making some good moves. One of them is the CFTA, the continental free trade area that is uniting the huge market of Africa of 1.5 billion people, which will be 2.5 billion in the next thirty years. Remember that Africa is 12 times bigger than India in land area, but until recently, the population of India has been bigger than that of Africa. Therefore, Africa has actually been underpopulated for much of the millennia. The fact that it is the origin of man, homo sapiens, four and a half million years ago notwithstanding, today, on account of modern medicine, Africa can have the optimal population for the first time in human history.
Finally, those who foment wars on account of ideological issues are wrong. And they are time and opportunity wasters. Human history will move on, whether they like it or not. Did the religious wars in Europe impose religious conformity in the world? And remember there are people who wanted to make sure that everybody is a Catholic, wanted to make sure and they were using war. And what happened? They failed.
There was an Austrian of the Austro-Hungarian Empire named Metternich. Did Metternich’s holy alliance stop the spread of capitalism and the overthrow of feudalism? When there was a revolution in France in 1789, this revolution was bourgeois, a capitalist revolution. Metternich was supporting feudalism and his answer was to launch a war to defeat the capitalist movement in France. But he failed. The only justified wars are just wars, not colonial wars. Wars of hegemony will fail and waste time and opportunity. Dialogue is the correct way.
I thank you, thank you so much.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.
It is true that the colonisation of other countries and the slave trade are universally recognised as crimes. Everybody agrees on that now. But not everybody did when Africa was fighting for independence, as we all remember. This is the first point.
Second, it is not enough to have a national flag, as one of my colleagues has said just now. This is obvious. But the preservation of some countries’ monopoly in finance, technology, the digital sphere and food is unacceptable and something we must fight. Of course, many people in this room know that the Soviet Union and Russia never thought of Africa as a place where you only buy raw materials. The Soviet Union has built many enterprises, power plants and steel plants in Africa. We should resume that practice, as my colleague has called for, and we will do this on a bilateral basis and at international venues.
Thank you very much.
I now give the floor to President of the Republic of the Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso.
President of the Republic of the Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso (retranslated): Mr President of the Russian Federation, Mr Chairperson of the African Union, President of the Union of the Comoros, heads of state and government, Mr Chairperson of the African Union Commission, ladies and gentlemen,
Our delegation is grateful for the warm welcome. We are happy to be taking part in the second Russia-Africa Summit. I would like to express our sincere gratitude to President Vladimir Putin for the warm welcome accorded to us.
The theme of our meeting today is focused on our striving for peace, security and development. Every historical period is the life of a certain generation. Every generation is faced with its own challenges.
People in Africa have always dreamed about unity. In the past, we fought against colonialism; we had to fight against apartheid and for our independence. In that struggle for our independence, Africa received considerable support from the Soviet Union. It was part of a solidarity strategy, which we used to call internationalism. To gain full independence, African countries needed competent and professional elites, and the former Soviet Union helped us at that time. Millions of rubles were spent on the training of African specialists; we had access to many thousand scholarships.
Our goal today is to develop in the interests of the prosperity of 2 billion Africans, which is the total population Africa may reach by 2050. The point at issue today, just as yesterday when we were fighting for independence, is that we are fighting for development. Of course, in this endeavour Africa needs the assistance and support from its friends and partners. Today the world has become a global village where all of us live together.
Mr President, we acknowledge that it is impossible to industrialise our continent without electrification. You will remember the famous slogan of the great revolutionary of your country – “Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country.” Meanwhile, today, 600 million Africans – I will repeat this figure – 600 million Africans live without electricity.
In addition, regarding a free trade area and the free movement of people, goods and services, I have to say that it is impossible to ensure this without modern transport and logistics routes (railways and shipping lanes), without airports and telecommunications. The African Continental Free Trade Area embodies this kind of vision of the future. We will be able to implement our free trade area plan only if we can rely on adequate infrastructure, but the investment is very expensive. If our countries try to deal with this issue individually, it will go nowhere.
We can only implement our plans if we pool our efforts in continental, regional and subregional organisations. Russia’s aid to Africa consists of a strategic partnership and so we are calling for strategic mutually beneficial partnership. Meanwhile, the African countries must focus on the main, priority infrastructure elements. This will be a subject of talks in the framework of public-private partnership, for example. There can be different sources of funding, concessions and long-term loans. Africa will only be able to develop through synergy. Autarky is unacceptable for us.
There are, of course, small projects, not very big; but we need large projects. We don’t simply expect charity from someone. We are not standing there with our hands out.
Russia-Africa cooperation has a big future. Africa is rich in resources. Our vision of future cooperation is the broadest of all. We are doing all this for the sake of peace and proceeding from mutual trust between partners, which will ensure the fulfilment of commitments and initiatives.
Speaking about peace in Africa, I must say again – we are striving for peace, and we hope to see peace in Europe. This is why I am calling, once again, for an end to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
There is this African wisdom – they say the grass is damaged by elephants that trample over it. This could be applied to different things, for example, to agricultural land. These are many-sided problems. Today, our people are affected by many difficulties and problems.
Returning to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, I must say that the African Initiative deserves primary attention and should not be underestimated. Therefore, I support Mr Putin’s words in this respect. I would like to say again that we continue to be optimistic. We have many problems, and we are discussing all of them at the summit, and we once again urgently call for the restoration of peace in Europe, in your part of the world.
Thank you for your attention.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much. This is a very important question, and we will make sure to discuss it today since we have allocated a special time slot for that.
As for peace, this is definitely true. There is no development without peace at its foundation. But there are two things I wanted to highlight from the speaker’s remarks: infrastructure and training of specialists.
Infrastructure clearly serves as a basic development factor. This is absolutely clear. What can I say on this topic?
First, Russia has infrastructure development competences in all sectors. Let me emphasise that this applies to all kinds of infrastructure, and the competences we offer are very advanced.
Second, we have the financial resources to deliver on these objectives. Making a joint proposal to us and working out mutually beneficial, effective economic tools for addressing these matters is all there is to it. Africa has the capacity to devise these tools together with its partners, including its partners from Russia.
As for personnel and capacity building, we have positive experience in working with talented young people from Africa. I think that this is what matters the most, since high technology will define the future of the global economy, but you simply cannot nurture high technology if you do not have the right specialists. This is a very important aspect of our joint work.
Thank you very much.
I now give the floor to President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (retranslated): In the name of Allah, most gracious and most merciful.
Your Excellency President of Russia Vladimir Putin, Your Excellency Chairperson of the African Union Mr Assoumani, your excellencies heads of state and government, ladies and gentlemen.
First, I would like to express my gratitude to his Excellency President of Russia Vladimir Putin for his hospitality and for the wonderful organisation of the second Russia-Africa Summit. As you know, the first summit took place in 2019, and we believe that this is a very important event for building partnership ties between Russia and African countries.
Today’s summit is taking place in an extremely challenging international environment when various forces are becoming polarised, which affects the system of international relations as a whole. Of course, African countries are interested in building a dependable infrastructure primarily as regards our security and peace. It is for this reason that our countries have been doing everything, trying to use the available resources to achieve these goals.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Egypt has always been a kind of pioneer in this area. Peace among strong countries should rest on justice. This was our strategic choice. We believe power lies in truth and logic, not the other way round – in the logic of power.
Our opinion on what we are doing today is very important in the context of our strategic partnership. The African nations should primarily make use of their sovereignty. They are upholding peace, fair and sustainable development. They should, of course, continue adhering to the same position on all complicated problems faced by the UN today, including the peaceful settlement of existing crises.
We must study in-depth the reasons for the emergence of conflicts and their impact on peace and security. We must also carefully study issues related to the influence of international sanctions on various countries. We must consider the development goals of African nations in the context of challenges they are facing and take into account food security and growing food prices. This is why it is necessary to urgently resolve the problem of supplies to needy countries, paying attention to all related issues.
Of course, it is necessary to reach consensus on the grain deal or grain agreement as we call it and consider all requirements of the countries that need it, as well as the consequences of this situation for many states and peoples.
The position of the African nations is based on the moderate views that we profess and on the need to proceed from our interests in resolving all these issues. Russia’s financing and support are vital in this regard.
The documents we are adopting at the summit today are very important for defining our strategic partnership, not to mention the broad prospects that are opening up with the development of our cooperation, which meets our mutual interests. The vector of our economic cooperation and the attention we are paying to industrialisation and development of agriculture and infrastructure are important in the context of our interaction and cooperation with Russia, considering the historical ties between our peoples.
Using this opportunity, I would like to assure you that Egypt is ready to continue contributing to the strengthening and deepening of our strategic cooperation on the principles we are negotiating. We are also ready to step up ties and relations between our and Russian organisations and companies. As for the interests of our region, it is, of course, necessary to take into account the efforts of the African Union and all steps to restore our economy, promote its development and strengthen peace and security in our region.
In conclusion, I would like to thank again the Russian Federation and personally his Excellency, President of Russia Vladimir Putin for this summit, its organisation and the hope that it will bring the desired results on the road of peace and progress.
Thank you for your attention.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much, Mr President.
Relations between Russia and Egypt have been a strategic partnership in nature for decades. This is simply a fact. It is not even important what our documents say, though they say that Russian-Egyptian political and economic relations are really strategic. We have a lot of large joint projects.
Now I would like to once again go back to what my friend and colleague has said about food policy: shortages, prices, and so on.
I have already said and want to repeat that difficulties on the food and energy markets did not arise yesterday or due to the situation around Ukraine. They started to emerge during the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, when many countries, including industrially developed ones, shut businesses for public health reasons and correspondingly had to support its people and production in various industries. How? By printing money ultimately.
The United States and the Eurozone hugely increased the money supply. In the Eurozone, it was a little less, and in the United States, it was very large. The printed money began to be used to buy food on world markets, and prices immediately skyrocketed. It was also due, frankly, to short-sighted policy in the field of energy, when, without reliable forms of alternative energy, they began to neglect hydrocarbons and did not invest in the development of hydrocarbon energy. All this resulted in an increase in energy prices. Ultimately, this was reflected in the cost of fertilisers.
It was one mistake after another. These are fundamental things that have turned the markets for food, mineral fertilisers and energy upside down. That is the reason for the rise in prices.
Of course, today’s developments in Ukraine encourage these processes to a certain degree, but the root cause is not there. The root cause lies in the fundamental mistakes of industrialised countries in financial and energy policy. That is the root cause of increasing food prices. But, of course, we must also think about what lies on the surface, and we will talk about this again today, I mean the crisis in Ukraine.
Thank you very much for your remarks.
I now give the floor to the President of the State of Eritrea, Mr Afwerki.
President of the State of Eritrea Isaias Afwerki: Your Excellency, President Vladimir Putin,
I would like to thank you for giving me the floor. I have an unwritten document to mention.
The statements made by previous speakers have addressed almost all the fundamental issues of this summit between the Russian Federation and the African continent. My emphasis would be on the process that we are undertaking now through consultations, developing consensus, is very critical.
We are in the second phase of the Russia-Africa summit, which, in my opinion, has highlighted and developed some of the fundamentals for this strategic partnership. But the strategic partnership will have to take stock of serious issues at the moment.
I would suggest that a mechanism be established to prepare a document for strategising on this strategic partnership that we, the Russian Federation and the continent, have.
This strategy will not have to be a general framework for the partnership that we have to build. We need to further move towards identifying areas of cooperation within the strategy and prepare documents for concrete projects in each and every sector and industry. The sectoral and industrial planning within a broader strategy, taking stock of details that have to be prepared for the mobilisation of resources.
In my opinion, Russia, Africa, China, and other partners, even outside Africa –Latin America, Asia – will be open for these projects, and the plans will require the mobilisation of resources.
This continent, as we were told, has more than 60 percent of natural endowments globally. If this 60 percent could be mobilised to implement projects at the sectoral and industrial level, then we can talk about the timeframe for implementing these projects by mobilising the required resources. I am confident to say that the Russian Federation has all the industrial base and technology base to provide the support required for this strategic partnership between Russia and Africa.
Vladimir Putin: I fully agree. If we do not think about the near and medium term, it will be difficult to achieve any real positive and necessary results today. Therefore, the creation of such a mechanism of strategic partnership is a very important thing, like a beacon that shows us the way, the direction of our movement.
Of course, it is a difficult job. If you want to compare it with the capabilities of our partners and friends in other regions (Latin America, Asia), then, of course, the best tool for this, or the best platform for creating such a tool, is consultations with our BRICS partners. We have colleagues here, the President of the Republic of South Africa – we will try together to promote your proposals with our BRICS partners as well.
And of course, we need to think about how to create a mechanism of strategic partnership. This is a difficult job, especially by sector and by country, but if we want to achieve specific results, we need to think about it right now. I agree with you.
Thank you very much.
I now give the floor to President of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau Umaro Sissoco Embalo.
President of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau Umaro Sissoco Embalo (in Russian): Thank you, friend.
(Retranslated.) Mr President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, African heads of state and government who are present in this hall, Chairperson of the African Union, heads of delegations, ambassadors and representatives of international organisations, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to begin by expressing my deep gratitude to the President of the Russian Federation, Mr Vladimir Putin, and to the Government of the Russian Federation for the warm welcome extended to our delegation and to me personally in this beautiful and hospitable city of St Petersburg. I also thank the administration of St Petersburg for the excellent working conditions, which are one of the keys to success.
St Petersburg, which used to be called Leningrad, is of course a city inextricably linked to history. It was this city that, during the brutal battles of the Second World War, inspired people all over the world, who later also rose up to fight for the liberation of their nations.
Friends, heads of state and government of Africa,
Currently, two international events, being hosted in St Petersburg, are taking shape and being filled with meaning.
The first is the Russia-Africa partnership forum, which has already taken place and adopted a plan of action for 2023–2026. And today is the day of the Russia-Africa summit. The purpose of both the forum and the summit is to renew and strengthen those historical and truly strategic ties that determined the movement of African peoples towards national independence in the second half of the 20th century.
Mr President Vladimir Putin, ladies and gentlemen,
The delegation of Guinea-Bissau has arrived in St Petersburg having done its “homework”. We have prioritised the following objectives of co-operation with Russia in three main areas important for the development of Guinea-Bissau, namely: education, youth and sports; the extraction of natural resources, primarily energy resources; and fishery infrastructure.
Naturally, the Government of Guinea-Bissau will cooperate with the Government of Russia both bilaterally and multilaterally in accordance with the action plan adopted by the Russia-Africa cooperation forum. I can also say that we will maximise the potential of our relations.
On that I will conclude. Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much, my dear friend.
You have highlighted three essential elements: education, energy, as well as fisheries and food. We can offer our ample competences, opportunities and financial resources in all these spheres. We will work together.
Thank you for your proposals.
I now give the floor to Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya Mr Al-Manfi.
Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya Mohamed Younis Ahmed Al-Manfi (retranslated): Mr President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, esteemed heads of state, Mr Chairperson of the African Union, President of the Union of Comoros Azali Assoumani. I also recognise Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat.
I would like to thank President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.
I have to say that this meeting demonstrates in all clarity the deep nature of relations between the Russian Federation and African countries and the African continent as a whole in keeping with the resolutions adopted during the meeting in Sochi some time ago.
Ladies and gentlemen, we will soon mark ten years since we adopted decisions regarding a strategic vision for the African continent designed to promote development for our continent and empower our people to contribute to ensuring steady development.
Together with the Russian Federation, we will definitely deliver on the continental agenda in all its main aspects. We will develop the digital economy, green energy and benefit from the natural riches of the African continent.
Africa is rich in natural resources and its development will have a positive bearing on the global economy as a whole. We will endeavour to change the cooperation model with our long-time allies and fight for ensuring fair prices for our natural resources. We will oppose the loans which burden our nations so much and eat away at our budgets diverting our countries from a steady development course.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Our goal is to engage in projects designed to restore railway infrastructure and produce clean energy. We will seek to counter environmental challenges and fight hunger, as well as do everything to increase agricultural production.
At this historical juncture we must remember that the Russian Federation is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and plays an important role in enabling the African continent to deliver on its plans in the effort to promote fair, effective and steady development.
Today, Africa believes that it was subjected to unfair exploitation for several centuries and that although formally all countries got rid of the colonial yoke, we haven’t yet managed to create genuinely national states. Now we must strive, together with the African Union, to change the membership system in the UN Security Council.
Despite a number of unimportant reforms, the West has recently continued preserving its dominant position. It is trying to exert all-round pressure on us, using our financial debts in its own interest, destroying our economies and increasing poverty and misery in our countries in every possible way.
All this as well as other circumstances show that the Russian Federation can help establish fair relations between our countries and the BRICS bloc. In the past 60 years, striving for brotherly cooperation between African nations, the Organisation of African Unity and the African Union have been countering illiteracy and poverty and working to establish a fair system, primarily the well-known South-South cooperation.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are striving to develop this strategic cooperation.
A number of African leaders have concluded beneficial agreements with the Russian Federation in an all-out effort to help resolve the food problem. At our meeting, we demand that the UN adopt a realistic approach to our problems.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It would be useful for us to bear common responsibility. Having overcome its domestic problems, Libya is becoming a full-fledged, effective member of the UN that is ready to share its natural resources with others for the benefit of the entire world.
We have achieved a ceasefire and are trying to eliminate all elements of the national split. We are working to create common armed forces. We are certainly turning to our army in the context of the Benghazi meetings and decisions to establish peace and tranquillity in all parts of our dear Libya so that we could focus on our own problems.
We are striving to resolve all our problems and asking our friends in the Russian leadership and our friends in African countries to help us withdraw all foreign troops from our territory.
Naturally, we are deeply concerned over the recent events in fraternal Niger and we support the establishment of a legitimate government in that country.
Naturally, I would like to sincerely thank the Russian people and their Government for the invitation.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much, colleague.
You have touched upon many important issues: food security, energy, education, and the digital economy. But, of course, what is of principal importance is that a ceasefire has been achieved in Libya. And it is very important now to achieve genuine national unity and to prevent the territory of Libya from becoming a zone of confrontation between third countries.
For its part, Russia, understanding all the complexities of this process, will do everything that depends on us in order to contribute to this positive trend of cooperation between all forces in Libya proper. I hope that we will have an opportunity to talk more about this.
Thank you very much. I now give the floor to the Interim President of the Republic of Mali Assimi Goïta.
Interim President of the Republic of Mali Assimi Goïta (retranslated): Mr President, Your Excellencies Heads of African States, ladies and gentlemen.
First of all, I thank His Excellency Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, and the Government of the Russian Federation, the Organising Committee, for inviting me to participate in this summit. Thank you for the warm welcome I have received. I am very pleased to be here in St Petersburg, in this historic city, for this very important meeting.
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr President,
The organisation of the summit in St Petersburg four years after the Sochi summit shows the quality of the strategic partnership between Russia and Africa. This partnership is based on long friendship, sincerity, mutual respect. This, of course, gives a special character to our relations.
Mali does not share common languages or much in common with Russia, but nevertheless we have been cooperating since 1960, when our country gained independence. Regardless of the changes, our relations have become more intensive, diverse, and this can be seen in various fields: infrastructure, science, agriculture, higher education, defence sector, security and many others.
Despite the geopolitical situation and the world situation, it is obvious that the Malian people are mobilised and our goal is to consolidate the strategic partnership between Mali and the Russian Federation for the benefit and happiness of our peoples.
Such a partnership is all the more necessary because Russia has been able to show in difficult moments its status as Mali’s faithful partner, has been loyal, dynamic and has helped us in dealing with difficulties, accompanied us and respected our sovereignty.
That is very important in restoring peace, stability and security, which is why we must now, above all, protect our population and defend the territorial integrity of our country. This strategic choice is very important to us, and we must, of course, become completely independent and self-sufficient and strengthen our armed forces. That is why we, in Mali, have a military partnership with the Russian Federation.
Thank you for your support and friendship. Thanks to Russia, we have been able to strengthen our armed forces, our security services and our law enforcement agencies. The Malian armed forces are now in an offensive dynamics, we have significantly reduced the number of attacks that were targeting military bases, and we have been able to provide security in many locations.
I want to thank you again, Mr President, for your support, for the support of your Government. Thanks to you, we have been able to make great progress in the fight against terrorism.
The cooperation between our countries is not limited to defence and security issues. We also cooperate in the field of human resources, as well as in commerce and trade.
Our partnership is now seeing new invigoration on the economic and currency front. These are significant opportunities for us to strengthen our bilateral economic ties.
Malians are very proud to belong to the African continent. We have traditional values that are very old. We have a traditional culture, and this is very important to us. We share the principles of justice and a commitment to traditional values that unite us with Russia. Today more than ever, the destinies of the African people and the Russian people are linked. We must confront common challenges together. The assertion of the full sovereignty of our countries, the fight against terrorism, the fight against poverty, the promotion of rights and freedoms: all these struggles must be waged effectively.
We in Mali are facing a significant crisis. It is the result of NATO’s intervention in Libya. Of course, we are facing various challenges related to defence and security. We are also facing the consequences of a public health crisis related to COVID-19. On this occasion, I thank all our friends for their support, our Russian friends for supporting the Sahel region.
Mr President, I would like to support your efforts in terms of concluding a fair international agreement on grain exports to the African continent. You have shown much pragmatism and realism, and you have done a lot of work to reach an agreement between Russia and Ukraine.
We are committed to international cooperation, multilateralism and equal relations. All UN members must observe the basic principles of human rights and the UN Charter. We are also committed to this principle. We in Mali support Russia’s initiative. We are calling for consensus to protect the principles and values of the UN Charter.
We favour a new architecture of international relations. Of course, a reform of the UN Security Council is necessary to achieve this. Our community must do everything it can for a fair reform. It is unacceptable to politicize human rights issues or use double standards.
A reform of the Security Council is a very important issue in an effort to reform the UN. The African Union demands 10 permanent seats in the UN Security Council. We advocate stability and security. Of course, it is necessary to reform the institutions along the lines of fair relations.
Indeed, according to international forecasts, the economy will be in recession in 2023. However, we should closely follow economic indicators. We see that the BRICS countries are a very reputable association that carries much weight in the international arena. The BRICS countries give us hope. We hope that it will be an instrument against Western domination and that it will be possible to create mechanisms and opportunities for the funding and development of our nations.
There are many complicated challenges in the modern world, and Africa was very enthusiastic about the convocation of this summit. We consider it a very important event that will allow us to establish a truly fair partnership between our continent and Russia. We hope there will be no disinformation.
I hope we will continue relations with all our partners in line with the three principles of our republic – respect for Mali’s sovereignty, observance of our strategic interests and protection of the interests of the Malian people. I also share the pan-African position. Implementation of integration processes in Africa is important for us.
Thank you very much.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much, colleague. You expressed many important things and we listened to you attentively.
But I would like to draw your attention to one point. You said your country is committed to traditional values, and this is precisely what unites us – Russia and the overwhelming majority of people who live on the African continent, the overwhelming majority of African nations. After all, traditional values are a foundation of our identity, our existence and our sovereignty. Our statehood rests on them. To sum up, I fully share these approaches.
I now give the floor to President of the Republic of Mozambique Filipe Jacinto Nyusi.
President of the Republic of Mozambique Filipe Jacinto Nyusi (retranslated): Thank you.
President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, Chairperson of the African Union Azali Assoumani, Heads of state and government, ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honour for the delegation of Mozambique, and for me personally, to be here in the city of St Petersburg taking part in the second Russia–Africa Summit. Of course, we are grateful to Vladimir Putin for inviting us here and to the Russian Federation in general for organising this summit, as well as for the friendship and cooperation we have developed between our countries. The aim of these relations is to promote mutually beneficial cooperation.
The tagline of this multilateral summit reads: “For peace, security and development.” But what does this mean? We are all for peace and security, which are essential for all African nations. We also believe in the idea of enabling the majority of African countries, or some of them, to be represented in the UN Security Council. It is essential for us that African countries get a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
This is the only way African countries can take effective and far-reaching decisions. In March 2023, we held a debate in the Security Council on this topic. We also believe that all countries must establish a common fund for fighting terrorism. This is instrumental for promoting peace and supporting efforts to preserve it in Mozambique. We also need to promote international political dialogue.
Accordingly, we have been seeking to engage in dialogue along these lines both within Mozambique and on international platforms when discussing matters of peace and security.
Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,
The development of African countries is a natural topic for this summit. Building economic capital as well as human capital assets is equally important in this regard. It is extremely important to use the human capital assets to develop our country in various spheres, and to develop other African countries too. However, the current rate of inflation in Mozambique has been depriving us of our ability to promote national economic development. Nevertheless, we have been doing everything possible to overcome this challenge.
One of the relatively vulnerable sectors in this sphere is agriculture. We had problems with the harvest in 2023, but we are working on them, and we are doing our best to increase labour efficiency in this area. We are also addressing the problems which agricultural producers are facing in agricultural zones.
A major priority for us is to deal with youth issues. Young people must not go hungry. We also hope to receive subsidies and assistance from international organisations. We want to address these problems through joint efforts and to prevent the appearance of numerous problems in the future.
In this context, other problems include the migration of people from rural areas to cities, climate change and terrorist attacks.
We believe that we should promote and expand the initiatives that have been formulated at this forum, this summit. We should not only improve the mechanisms of international assistance but also address these issues ourselves.
Second, we should cooperate in other areas as well, above all, in digital economy, transport, in the development of science and technology, as well as in the production of value added goods. We should also promote our cooperation in trade, business, in creating new jobs for the people of Mozambique. We hope that the situation in our region will improve and that we will settle all the problems because human lives are what matters most; they are the utmost priority.
I would like to confirm again that we will certainly continue our cooperation with African countries and, together with the African Union, we will further develop relations with Russia based on peace, security and mutual benefit. This will be in the best interests of our nations.
In this instance, Mr President, this summit will help improve relations and cooperation that will be in the best interests of African nations.
Thank you very much.
Vladimir Putin: Colleague, thank you very much for sharing your concerns and your vision of future development with us. We had an opportunity to discuss all these issues in detail yesterday.
I wholeheartedly wish you success and hope that we will continue our cooperation as we have agreed.
President of the Republic of Senegal Macky Sall now has the floor. Go ahead, please.
President of the Republic of Senegal Macky Sall (retranslated): Thank you, Mr Putin, President of the Russian Federation,
Mr Azali Assoumani, Chairperson of the African Union, Colleagues,
Chairman of the African Union Commission,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to thank President Vladimir Putin for the warm reception and everything he has done to facilitate our stay.
I am very happy to meet you for the third time in two years – after the meeting in Sochi on June 3, 2022, and the recent meeting on June 17 as part of the African mission.
This summit is taking place in the spirit of agreements, our traditional partnership. These relations took shape during our struggle against colonialism. Our relations are very good but I think we should work harder to make our economic cooperation even more robust.
The potential of our partnership is enormous. Africa occupies 30 million square kilometres and is inhabited by over 1.3 billion people. Russia is also a vast country. Our continent and your country put together are a massive association, a union. We have a wealth of mineral resources, tremendous demographic potential and for this reason we can work and cooperate in various areas – agriculture, industry, hydrocarbons, information technology, security, transport and digital economy, to name a few. However, we must create adequate and pragmatic mechanisms – on investment, finances and partnership.
You must have noted that I am not talking about help because the fact is I don’t believe in help. I would like to reply to our younger brother and colleague, the President of Burkina Faso. We have come here not to beg for something. We do not travel to other places to beg, either. We are working to create a decent partnership for the development and wellbeing of our nations, no matter where discussions take place, be it in Dakar, Washington or St Petersburg. We are fighting for dignity and this fight extends beyond different generations – many presidents, including President of the Republic of the Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso spoke about this.
Every generation has its own battle. We are fighting against terrorism that is undermining our continent. But we must also work for its development. Can we analyse why Africa has found itself in such a situation? Its history is linked with the legacy of colonisation and slavery and it continues in the system of neocolonialism and injustice, which we are countering.
We demanded UN reform, reform of global governance. Today, these are the institutions that are dictating their will to us. If these rules remain unchanged, we will achieve nothing. This is why it is very important to display solidarity and work throughout the entire continent because these challenges are vital.
We have some small countries that appeared after the Berlin Congress. Sometimes they interfere with our work but we must press on and continue working on large regional projects. Africa needs many infrastructure projects. It needs railways, electricity, dams and so on. There should be finance mechanisms and regional programmes to develop Africa.
I think we will be able to work together with Russia, as well as with BRICS and other partners that will be able to align with our priorities.
Speaking about our concerns and problems, peace and security on the continent and in the world are our main concern. We want de-escalation in order to ease tensions and restore free trade of grain and fertilisers. This is what I have been saying since the very beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. We produce corn and many other crops, but how can we work without fertilisers? Of course, all sanctions on the grain and fertiliser trade must be lifted. I think we can make progress in this area, as well as in regard to other partners. Thus, we will be able to speak in favour of lifting sanctions, so that countries could return to the normal free trade for the prosperity of the entire population. I will stop here, because I don't want to drag it out.
We would really like Russia to work at the level of the African Union in the field of security. We have the African Architecture for Peace and Security. We are now thinking about how Africa can take it further. The [UN] Security Council has failed in its mission, which is to restore world peace. Terrorism, of course, is very harmful to our continent. We can see no solidarity towards Africa. For us, this is a very important topic.
The investment programme is another topic I have already spoken about. We should invest together for common welfare and prosperity.
Thank you once again for your support of the African Union joining the G20. Africa must be part of the G20 to make the world more just and stable. Africa must take its rightful place.
Thank you. I wish you successful work.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you, Mr President.
You have provided good thoughts for discussion. I will try to be brief and not waste a lot of time, but I would like to draw attention to something.
Firstly, I really agree, and everyone here also believes that over the past decade, despite the fact that colonial existence is a thing of the past, the system of neocolonialism still exists. It has been created, and we see this hegemony in finance, technology, food and, by the way, in security conditions, as I have said.
When we are told that we must live by the rules written by who knows who, it is an attempt to preserve this neocolonialist system, because they do not want to change these rules, and you have just called for changing the rules that have developed over the past decades. I completely agree with you here.
You have also said: “I don't believe in help.” You know, I do believe, because if we provide assistance to our allies, people who think the same, then we are working in our own interests. One does not contradict the other. Of course, you are right that it is necessary to create mutually beneficial instruments of cooperation. In fact, it is why we are here today: to talk about this. I completely agree with you.
I am pleased to give the floor to President of the Republic of South Africa Mr Ramaphosa.
President of the Republic of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa:
Your Excellency, President Vladimir Putin,
Your Excellency, President Azali Assoumani, the Chair of the African Union and President of the Comoros,
Your Excellency Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chair of the African Union Commission,
Your Excellencies heads of state and government,
Honourable representatives of various countries represented here,
Ministers and guests and ladies and gentlemen,
President Putin, allow me at the outset to thank you, as well as the Government and the people of the Russian Federation, for receiving us here, in St Petersburg, and according us great hospitality, especially last night, with a wonderful and delicious dinner and the outstanding performance that displayed the culture of Russia and especially of St Petersburg, which is the cultural capital of Russia. We also want to thank you for enabling the artists to end their performance with great African sounds and drums and dance, that touched our hearts and made us feel at home. Thank you very much for that.
Nearly three years ago, in the city of Sochi, we pledged as African leaders and as the Russian Federation to cooperate in a manner that is mutually beneficial and that serves the interests of our respective peoples. In the intervening years, we have experienced strong geopolitical and economic crosswinds. We continue to count the human cost of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our economies.
As South Africa and, indeed, as Africa, we are greatly encouraged by the Russian Federation’s commitment to deepening collaboration with the nations of Africa. This is important as we chart a new course for economic development, growth and prosperity, and as we seek to achieve the attainment of the sustainable development goals.
As South Africa we remember with deep gratitude how the people and the government of the then Soviet Union supported our struggle for liberation, as well as the struggles of many other countries and nations on the African continents.
Today our bilateral relationship remains strong. We continue to collaborate in political, economic, social, defence, and security spheres. We work closely across multilateral platforms, such as the United Nations, G20, and as members of BRICS. Our participation in forums such as this one is guided by our quest to realise the African Union’s Agenda 2063 vision of economic integration and inclusive socioeconomic development.
As you know, and as a member of BRICS yourself as the Russian Federation, South Africa will shortly be hosting the 15th BRICS summit in Johannesburg. We see this summit as an opportunity to promote enhanced global cooperation and to achieve common prosperity for the nations of Africa. The BRICS partners are significant investors in Africa. The upcoming summit will therefore give particular attention to infrastructure development, supported by the New Development Bank, BRICS Bank that is, as well as also supported by the African Continental Free Trade Area, from the trading point of view. The African Continental Free Trade Are, once fully operational, will unlock the benefits of the continental markets and generate mutually beneficial opportunities for both BRICS and African countries alike.
As clearly articulated by other leaders who have spoken before me, but especially, the very wise words of President [of Uganda] Museveni, African countries are shaping their own destinies as nation states and as a continent. Our substantial resources must be harnessed, first and foremost, for Africa’s benefit, to grow Africa’s economies and to pursue sustainable development. And, as stated by others, we no longer want to be exporting ore, soil, and dust and rocks from the minerals of our continent, but we want to be exporting finished products that have value. There must be respect also for what we do as countries, and we must stop those countries that count their wealth and their assets in terms of the minerals that reside in the African soil like they did in the past when they used to count their wealth in the number of slaves that they own, that were taken from the African continent.
Respect and mutual benefit should underpin what we as Africa do as we relate to other countries in the world. African countries should, as sovereign states, be able to also pursue their own independent foreign policy approaches that are not beholden to any other major global power or blocs.
This second Russia-Africa summit is an opportunity to further enhance and strengthen international cooperation and partnership for Africa’s development. We work and focus on further cooperation between Russia and Africa to promote investment, to facilitate development of value chains and boost capacity to produce and export finished and manufactured products.
The proposed Russia-Africa Action Plan for the coming years should align with the second ten-year implementation plan of the AU’s Agenda 2063. That will ensure that it is coherent and that the plan is action-oriented, based on real practical interventions. We should also ensure joint monitoring and evaluation of the Action Plan, we need to jointly allocate the necessary funding for its implementation, and be accountable for concrete deliverables.
Geopolitical tensions are negatively affecting countries across Africa. As part of Russia-Africa cooperation, we must repeat our call for existing global institutional mechanisms to be strengthened and reformed. Greater participation of our countries of the Global South will promote inclusiveness and engender trust. In this regard, the reform of the multilateral financial institutions, as well as the reform of the United Nations Security Council, remain a priority for us. It is totally unfair, inequitable, and unacceptable that a continent that represents 1.3 billion people continues to be not represented on the UN Security Council.
In our interconnected world, we are all affected by conflict and instability in other parts of the world. We have a responsibility as nations to work for peace, to support peace building, and to lend our every effort to bring an end to conflict and war wherever it occurs. As South Africa, we are steadfast in our position that negotiation and dialogue and adherence to the United Nations Charter are necessary for the peaceful and just resolution of conflicts. It is our hope that constructive engagement and negotiation can bring about an end to the ongoing conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.
We want to thank you, President Putin, for receiving and listening to the African leaders who came to St Petersburg on June 17 led by the Chair of the African Union, His Excellency President Azali Assoumani, where we discussed a number of issues that we believe could lead to a solution of the conflict. And we look forward to engaging further with you later today to hear precisely how some of those proposals can be taken forward.
In conclusion, we look forward to the Russia-Africa Summit playing a key role in supporting our objectives of African integration, economic growth, peace and prosperity.
I thank you.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much, my colleague, my dear friend.
We are in solidarity on the prospects of developing Russia-Africa relations. We are in constant contact and will remain so.
As I have already said, today we will focus on the situation related to Ukraine.
As for BRICS, I would like to mention that this international organisation was born here, in St Petersburg, where we are now. The leaders of three countries – Russia, India and China – met here for the first time and agreed to meet on a regular basis. This is how RIC – Russia, India and China – emerged. Later, this community was joined by Brazil and became BRIC. It was followed by our friends from South Africa, and the community turned into BRICS.
Now our South African friends are holding a summit in South Africa and I wish you success. I am sure it will be a success and the meeting will be held at the highest level.
Thank you very much.
I am giving the floor to the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Mr Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa. Go ahead, please.
President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa:
Thank you, Your Excellency Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation and the host of the second Russia-Africa Summit.
Your Excellency, Chairman of the AU and President of the Republic of Comoros Azali Assoumani.
Your Excellencies, heads of state and government, distinguished heads of executive bodies and organisations.
Your Excellency, Chairman of the AU Commission Mr Moussa Faki.
Ladies and gentlemen.
I am honoured to address this plenary session of the second Russia-Africa Summit. Allow me from the outset to express my appreciation to you, Your Excellency President Putin and through you, to the people of the Russian Federation for the warm hospitality accorded to me and my delegation since our arrival in this beautiful and historic city, St Petersburg.
The history of Africa’s development cannot be accurate and complete without mentioning the significant contribution of the Russian Federation, going back to the USSR. The Russian people stood with Africa, providing moral, technical and material support to many of our countries as we fought to liberate ourselves from the oppressive minority colonial rule. This support and solidarity continued after independence toward advancing of the development of peace and security of African countries. In the case of Zimbabwe, we will forever remember the Russian Federation’s decisive intervention, together with China, in 2008, through a veto which prevented the imposition of United Nations Chapter 7 sanctions instigated by our country’s Western detractors.
Your excellencies, distinguished guests,
For decades, sustainable social economic development at regional and global levels has been hindered by the escalating threats of transnational organised crime, conflict, terrorism, that encroach upon national and global peace and security.
In Zimbabwe, we have a philosophy that a country is built, a country is developed, a country is ruled, and a country is prayed for by its own people. We leave no one and no place behind.
Multilateralism and strengthening existing institutions, as well as creating new partnerships remain key for a just and peaceful new world order, which is unfolding. In this context, Zimbabwe commends the Russian Federation for its solidarity and support, guided by our shared aspirations and development objectives for convening this Russia-Africa Summit. As reflected in the comprehensive agenda, this Russia-Africa Summit marks a new chapter for advancing progress in identifying areas of mutual interest.
Further, this platform must give impetus to our promotion of multi-sectoral and multi-level cooperation in the fields of agriculture, natural resource development, industry, trade, infrastructure and energy development, as well as peace and security, technological and humanitarian issues. The importance of strengthening commercial and trade exchanges through business-to-business linkages cannot be over-emphasised.
Zimbabwe, therefore, stands ready to leverage on the presence of Russian companies at this summit to advance the modernisation and industrialisation of our respective countries. I wish to convey sincere gratitude to the Russian Federation for offering exhibition space for Zimbabwean companies to showcase the various opportunities existing in our economy and environment. As I have always said, Zimbabwe is open for business and a land of vast investment opportunities in agriculture, in mining, in energy, infrastructure, manufacturing, science, technology and innovation, ICT and tourism, among other sectors. The future is digital. We in Africa need access to science, technology, innovation and invention from the Russian Federation.
I wish, however, to highlight that Zimbabwe demands an end to illegal sanctions which were imposed by some Western countries more than two decades ago just because we had decided to reunite our people with its land. Notwithstanding this, my administration guided by its policy of engagement has chosen to be a friend to all and an enemy to none, but some countries have chosen to be our detractors in spite of that policy. We will hold general elections this year in August. International observers and individual countries are invited to send election observer missions to Zimbabwe.
May I take this opportunity to reiterate that my government is ready to hold peaceful, free, transparent, fair and credible elections.
As I conclude, Mr President, let us seize this opportunity to celebrate the enduring spirit of the Russia-Africa partnership that promises to illuminate our shared path and propel us towards future brimming with hope, development and prosperity for all our peoples. I think we need a more regular Russia-Africa Summit of this nature.
I thank you, Excellency.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.
Mr President, my dear friend! This is what I would like to note in connection with your remarks.
First, I would like to thank you for appreciating Russia’s contribution to the development of relations with our friends on the African continent.
I would also like to draw attention to the fact that sanctions are being introduced against those who do not want to follow rules that someone else invented. In this context, we support the idea of the overwhelming majority of all those present about the need to increase Africa’s role in the UN system. All of us want to live according to the standards of international law rather than the rules that some people have written for themselves but are imposing them on us.
Of course, we will support all areas of our bilateral cooperation, everything we discussed at our bilateral meeting yesterday.
Allow me to give the floor to the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat.
Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat (retranslated): Your Excellency Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation! Mr Azali Assoumani, President of the Union of Comoros and Chairperson of the African Union! Your excellencies heads of state and government! Ladies and gentlemen,
To begin with, I would like to address you, Mr Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation and thank you for organising this summit and inviting the African Union to attend it.
I am particularly grateful to you for the warm reception that you, your Government and the people of Russia accorded us.
The first Russia–Africa Summit was held in October 2019, and today many arrived in St Petersburg to attend the second one. The second Russia–Africa Summit is taking place in a polarised global context, and, moreover, with a war between neighbouring countries.
I am raising this delicate issue to highlight the importance the African Union attaches to peace, respect and observance of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of states, the principles of neighbourly relations and the settlement of crises through talks and compromises that would be mutually beneficial. These are the principles that inspire the position of the African Union in this brotherly conflict that has a negative impact on both countries and the world. And all these conflicts must be settled on the foundation of justice.
Of course, we are also concerned about the issue of grain supplies. The grain initiative must work for the benefit of all countries of the world, and especially the countries of Africa.
Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen,
At this Russia–Africa Summit, the African Union follows the logic of the Agenda 2063, which is about mutually beneficial cooperation. And bilateral cooperation is our partnership of choice in order to achieve our own development goals and take into account the interests of other parties. It was in this spirit that the first summit in partnership with the Russian Federation was held, during which we adopted a declaration that included the framework for this cooperation. Of course, given the impact of the economic context due to the COVID-19 pandemic and perhaps insufficient planning for active, operational action, progress towards achieving these goals has been rather limited.
Of course, the institutionalisation of partnership is characterised by certain conditions, such as the establishment of a joint commission, which should work towards implementing the action plan under the adopted declaration.
Speaking about concrete actions to implement this plan, it is necessary to act quickly and clearly in order to encourage and intensify this partnership and our relations in the fundamental interests of our nations. But let us not forget the help that the Soviet Union provided in our struggle against colonialism and apartheid.
Africa covers 30 million square kilometres, as has already been mentioned here. More than one billion people live on this continent; we have rivers, forests – huge potential in terms of human and natural resources. And, of course, this is an enormous market.
Your Excellency Mr President,
Heads of state and government,
“For peace, security and development” – this is the slogan of the Russia–Africa forum and the Russia–Africa Summit. We must reach all our goals in line with this slogan. We are talking, among other things, about energy, transport infrastructure, digital technology, trade, peace, security and development. All this will be reflected in a joint declaration.
Of course, we must use all necessary resources in medicine, education and technology transfer to impart dynamics to all these changes. But our partnership should improve management, facilitate a multilateral approach to cooperation and promote the development of international relations. This is also the purpose of the Security Council reform that is designed to reduce injustice towards all Africans that are not properly represented in this body.
Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen,
The functioning of this partnership is measured only in results. As for our actions at this summit, it should allow us to evaluate our partnership, assess the results achieved and overcome all difficulties. Naturally, it is impossible to assess progress achieved in four years. All of us have our own concerns in this complicated situation but we believe in this partnership. This is clear from the presence of African countries at this summit.
We are striving for concrete results and will consider all of them. To cope with different challenges facing us, we should turn to the programme of action for the second decade of implementing the African Union’s Agenda 2063. This programme also could be used as an example at Russia-African Union negotiations. We can achieve certain results here.
Russia-Africa trade is well-balanced but we could still improve many things. Figures on investment and trade show that they have not yet exhausted the limits of our potential.
Of course, it is also necessary to give a little push on energy. We must do everything to elaborate a joint approach to provide us with energy and support the industrialisation of all countries.
Food security is affecting the development of our agricultural sector and we need specific actions in this area as well. We need to adopt a joint declaration to enhance our security and counterterrorism cooperation in this context.
My experience as the head of the African Union Commission allowed me to learn about the most varied opinions from representatives of African countries and to understand the common grounds and points of concurrence. It is necessary to use these facts and make a difference in our daily lives to improve the living standards of everyone in Africa.
I would like to thank you for your attention.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much, Mr Mahamat.
We have already spoken about how we can still discuss the situation related to the conflict in Ukraine. Of course, we share your opinion that all differences must be resolved through talks but the problem is that they are refusing to talk with us.
The conflict is rooted in the creation of security threats for Russia by the US and NATO. Let me repeat that they are rejecting talks with us on ensuring equal security for all, including Russia. Ukraine itself, or to be more precise, its current regime, is also rejecting talks. This was announced officially, and the President of Ukraine adopted a decree banning talks.
We have said more than once – and I officially announced this – that we are ready for talks. But we cannot impose talks on them. It seems to me it is necessary to engage in dialogue with the other side as well, although we are grateful to our African friends for the attention to this problem.
As for Russia-Africa cooperation in general, we have worked together, our colleagues and agencies have worked with a view to putting all this into a declaration.
We are very grateful to the African Union Commission for its most active participation in this work. I hope we will adopt this declaration as a result of our joint activity during the preparations for the summit.
I would like to announce a short break. We still have many speakers ahead. It will be a short one.
We will start the second plenary session in the format of a working breakfast.
Thank you very much for your joint efforts.