President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Azali Assoumani, Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to say that I am pleased that the main events of the official programme of the second Russia-Africa Summit have taken place in a constructive and friendly atmosphere and produced tangible results.
This also applies to the Economic and Humanitarian Forum, sessions of the summit and a special meeting with the heads of African regional organisations. Tonight, we will also discuss the situation around Ukraine with interested African countries.
We had many bilateral contacts with African leaders. We have planned meetings with all heads of state that are present in St Petersburg.
Of course, we are happy that the delegations of the overwhelming majority of African countries and the heads of all leading integration structures of Africa are taking part in the summit.
Representatives of African states displayed political will and demonstrated their independence and interest in developing cooperation with our country. We appreciate this and are convinced in the successful future of Russia-Africa relations. They rest on the traditions of time-tested friendship, and historical experience of multifaceted productive interaction dating back to the early period in the process of African states’ formation.
The main thing is that the summit has again confirmed the firm resolve of both Russia and Africa to continue developing mutually beneficial partnership and seeking its new forms and areas.
Indicatively, following the work, the participants adopted a solid package of joint documents. First, I will mention the St Petersburg Declaration that was approved by the leaders. It formalises strategic areas for the development of Russia’s cooperation with African countries in long-term perspective. All our states confirmed their commitment to the formation of a fair and democratic multipolar world order based on the universally recognised principles of international law and the UN Charter. They expressed their joint resolve to counter neocolonialism, the practice of using illegitimate sanctions and attempts to undermine traditional moral values.
The Sochi agreement has been confirmed – to hold Russia-Africa summits every three years.
A dialogue partnership mechanism will operate in between Russia-Africa summits. Foreign ministries of Russia and African countries and the heads of the African Union will continue their regular political consultations. We are also planning to establish a new permanent Russia-Africa mechanism for coordinating our positions on security issues, including such urgent problems as countering terrorism and extremism, ensuring food security, information technology, preventing the deployment of arms in space and climate change.
Characteristically, our African friends expressed many constructive ideas and useful practical considerations during the current meeting. We will certainly consider them.
We adopted separate declarations on many areas of Russia-Africa cooperation, in which we detailed our coordinated approaches and guidelines for further joint actions.
The large-scale Action Plan until 2026 contains specific goals on invigorating the Russia-Africa economic and humanitarian partnership and implementing decisions of the Petersburg summit as a whole. We are planning to build up our trade in quality and quantity and improve its pattern. We are also going to gradually switch to national currencies, including the ruble, in making financial payments on commercial deals. We will be removing trade barriers by aligning integration processes in the Eurasian Economic Union and the African Union and its free trade area. We intend to increase exports to Africa of Russian industrial products that have earned a good reputation on the continent, including machinery, automobiles, equipment, chemicals and fertilisers.
Our country will continue supplying our African friends with crops both contractually and free of charge, help them develop their power industry to meet the growing needs of the African economies in hydrocarbon fuel and electricity generating capacities. Importantly, I am referring not only to traditional energy sources but also to Rosatom’s innovations.
The Action Plan, along with several other inter-departmental and commercial documents signed on the sidelines of this summit, also provide for expanding industrial cooperation and carrying out joint information and communications projects. In particular, our companies are ready to transfer applied technology to be used in public administration, in the banking and other sectors of the economy to our African friends.
An understanding has been reached at the summit on the importance of more energetic efforts to promote cultural, academic, educational, sports, tourism, youth and other humanitarian exchanges. Russia is also offering a lot to its African friends and colleagues in this area.
Cooperation will continue in education and personnel training, and the number of African students receiving education in Russia will be increased, including government-funded students. Branches of Russia’s leading universities, as well as secondary schools, including those with several subjects taught in Russian, will be opened in African countries through joint efforts. Relevant initiatives were examined in detail at the meetings that took place.
Of course, we also plan to assist our African partners in strengthening their national healthcare systems and enhancing their reliability, technological level, potential for fast response and resilience in coping with epidemics. For this purpose, an ambitious programme will be launched to assist African countries in combatting infections through 2026, for a total amount of 1.2 billion rubles.
We still have work ahead at the summit but right now I still want to thank again all our African colleagues for accepting our invitation to come to St Petersburg and for coming. I want to emphasise again that Russia sincerely aspires to build a truly strategic and diverse partnership with Africa and we see that our African friends are also seeking to work together with us, arm in arm.
Chairperson of the African Union, President of the Union of the Comoros Azali Assoumani (retranslated): Thank you very much, Mr President.
You have said this very well. I can only thank you very sincerely: thank you, dear brother. I would also like to thank all the agencies of the Russian Federation, the Russian people for this brotherly and very warm welcome. I would like to especially note the optimal conditions created for this summit to become a true success.
Once again, Mr President, thank you very much, I would also like to congratulate you, because you will not regret any of the decisions you have made.
We have truly achieved success both for President Putin, who invited us, and also for all of us Africans. If Russia wins, Africa wins with it. (Applause.)
We continued last night’s discussions today, and, when delivering our remarks, we thanked you and noted the relations that have existed between our countries and Russia for many decades.
We know that friends in need are friends indeed. And it was precisely when Africa was in a difficult situation, during the period of slavery, the period of colonisation or the period of apartheid, that Russia always helped us, and it was among the first countries to help us fight against colonisation, apartheid and slavery.
That is why we have a relationship that extends back ages. Of course, I believe it will develop one way or another. Indeed, it is time to give these relations a new boost and move forward.
We have discussed numerous problems, which President Putin also mentioned. What can be noted? We can note that Russia is ready to help us in education and personnel training, because human resources are very important to us.
Almost all African countries sent their students to be trained in Russia, and all these specialists are now working both in the private sector and government administration. We will move forward together. We know that Russia has all the necessary potential, and it must be used fully. We have already talked about this. We will go even further.
Yes, we maintain cooperation. We held the first summit in 2019, but, unfortunately, then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, so we had to suspend the implementation of our plans. During that summit, we said that a mechanism should be established to help us achieve more and also draw a line, understand what we managed to do, what we failed to do and how we can correct our mistakes.
There are many candidates in Africa who are ready to host this summit, including the Comoros. We have discussed all possible topics, the whole spectrum: energy and infrastructure. We have also demonstrated that we have our own African potential. We only have to use this material, this capital for our common good. We need to take advantage of these capacities and create a value-added product.
Yes, we gained political independence but it is still remains at the political level. We must move forward. We have the capital and we are now exporting our raw materials. Later, these transformed minerals return to us and we buy them at a much higher price.
We know that Russia can help us with this. It has demonstrated its readiness. In fact, it is already doing this in many countries. This concerns processes of industrialisation and numerous areas – energy, agriculture and so on.
I would like to note again that I believe success awaits us. We are very grateful and content with the results of our meetings.
We inhabit the same world and want Africa to become part of decision-making organisations. We live in a multipolar world. Russia will invest in Africa but this does not mean that other countries won’t come to us. We will create conditions for positive competition. We won’t have just one and only partner – we will have many partners. I think it would be even better for us to have two or three partners because they will attract other partners.
Thank you very much, Mr President. Thank you very much, Russia. You have always been with us.
We are creating a free trade area in Africa. I believe it is a good model and it will help us move forward and develop as well. As the Chairperson [of the African Union], I can speed up the establishment and development of this free trade area.
I am convinced that together with Russia, with its support and partnership, we will be able to implement this project and achieve concrete results.
We discussed the issue of grain and grain supplies. The President of Russia said he is ready to help us even for free. Yes, there are attempts to unblock the current situation. We will see how this can be done, how to ease this burden.
Yes, we know that there is a war between Russia and Ukraine, and this is affecting the global economy. We visited Kiev and held talks there. Tonight we will discuss this issue with the President of Russia as well. We will find a solution.
The President of Russia demonstrated his readiness to help us with grain supplies. Yes, this is important but probably not quite enough. It is necessary for us to achieve a ceasefire because war is always unpredictable and the longer it lasts, the less predictable it becomes.
President Putin told us that he is ready to engage in a dialogue and find a solution. Now we have to convince the other side. I hope we will make it. We noted, we remain convinced that it is still possible to do this, and this fills us with optimism. We are acting as a mediator. We will talk with both sides. I hope we will achieve positive results.
Thank you very much, Mr President.