President of Russia Vladimir Putin: President el-Sisi, ladies and gentlemen,
The first Russia-Africa Summit is over. Summing up its work over the two days, we can say that this event opened up a new page in the history of Russia’s relations with African countries. This was a business meeting but at the same time it was very friendly, if not cordial, and this created a special atmosphere for our discussions.
Delegations of all African countries without exception arrived in Sochi. Over forty states were represented by top officials. The summit was preceded by a representative economic forum. Many multilateral and bilateral contacts took place at the top and other levels. Most important, they were held at the business level.
The results of the joint efforts are reflected in the final declaration. This document sets goals and tasks for the further development of Russia-Africa cooperation in all areas: politics, security, the economy, science, technology, culture and humanitarian sphere.
To ensure that our cooperation is regular and consistent, the forum made a decision at the initiative of our African friends to create a new dialogue mechanism – the Russia-Africa partnership forum.
Top-level meetings will take place within its framework once every three years, held alternately in Russia and in an African state. The forum will also provide for annual consultations between the foreign ministers of Russia and three African countries: the current, future and previous chairpersons of the African Union.
Russia-Africa relations are based on long-standing traditions of friendship and solidarity formed back when our country supported the struggle of the peoples of Africa against colonialism, racism and apartheid, protected their independence and sovereignty, and helped establish statehood, build the foundations of the national economy and create combat-ready national armed forces.
Our specialists have built major infrastructure facilities, including hydroelectric power plants, roads and industrial enterprises. Thousands of Africans have received high-quality professional training in our country.
Expanding and simplifying mutually beneficial ties with African states are among Russia’s foreign policy priorities. We are constructively working together at the UN and its regional sector-specific institutions.
Our countries’ positions on important issues on the international agenda are close or similar. We are grateful to our African partners for supporting resolutions of prime importance for us, such as resolutions on combating the glorification of Nazism, on the non-deployment of weapons in space first, on confidence-building measures in outer space, and on international information security.
As a permanent member of the United Nations, Russia stands with the countries of Africa on matters of strengthening peace and stability on the continent and ensuring regional security.
We are also striving to establish cooperation with African integration associations. Prospects for cooperation between the integration associations of Africa and the Eurasian Economic Union were discussed at a meeting between the heads of regional African organisations and the Eurasian Economic Commission Board chairman.
As you have just seen, a memorandum of understanding has been signed between the Eurasian Economic Commission and the African Union Commission. We plan to expand trade and economic cooperation.
The economic forum, which, as you are aware, took place yesterday, was devoted to this. The discussions and presentations by key Russian companies, as well as specific sessions focusing on particular areas of cooperation have shown that Russian and African business circles are interested in expanding mutually beneficial ties.
Ladies and gentlemen,
You understand that when we established relations back in the times of the Soviet Union, it was done according to the existing state blueprints. It was good, but it is hard to imagine this today.
Today we need more information about each other’s capacities; it is necessary that all the participants in the economic processes keep track of the latest events and African countries’ capabilities and competitive strengths on global markets. It is impossible to do without events like the one we held yesterday. All the necessary conditions have been created for such work.
Last year Russia’s trade with African states grew more than 17 percent and exceeded $20 billion, which we mentioned many times yesterday and today. We believe that we can bring it to higher levels and reach at least $40 billion.
Energy is an important area of economic cooperation. Joint projects are implemented in traditional sectors such as hydrocarbon production, construction and repair of power generation facilities as well as in peaceful nuclear energy and the use of renewable energy sources.
Russian companies are ready to work with their African partners to upgrade transport infrastructure, develop telecommunications and digital technologies, provide information security, and they offer the most advanced technologies and engineering solutions.
And, of course, Russia will continue its traditional training of highly qualified national experts for all branches of the economy of the African states. I was very glad today when a participant in our discussion spoke in Russian, with almost no accent.
Let me remind you that over 100 educational institutions have been built in Africa with the support of our country. Approximately 500,000 Africans completed training. Of these, about 100,000 people received diplomas from Soviet and Russian universities, and 250,000 studied at joint educational centres in the African countries themselves. Another 150,000 specialists were trained during the construction and operation of large industrial enterprises built with our participation.
Russia will further assist African countries in developing national healthcare, ensuring broad access for all segments of the population to qualified medical care, and strengthening Africa’s capacity to combat epidemics.
And I want to emphasise that such work is absolutely mutually beneficial, since it also gives Russian companies the opportunity to work in the African market, interact with African partners and receive appropriate benefits in the interests of the Russian Federation and its citizens.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the current Chairperson of the African Union, President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and all our Egyptian friends; there are many of them, we all know them well; they played a direct, practical role in the preparation of yesterday’s and today’s events.
I would like to thank them for their active participation in this work and the holding of the summit. And of course, I would like to express gratitude to all African colleagues participating in the summit for the fruitful joint work.
I am sure that the implementation of the plans and initiatives agreed upon during the summit will help bring Russian-African cooperation to a qualitatively new level.
Thank you for your attention.
President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Chairperson of the African Union and co-chair of the Russia-Africa Summit (retranslated): President Putin, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to express gratitude to all of you, but especially to President Putin, for your hospitality and warmth during the summit. I greatly appreciate the efforts you have made to ensure its success, as well as the spirit of cooperation displayed by the leaders of the African countries and the heads of the AU delegations who attended this summit. This helped us to coordinate a final communique, which reflects the common priorities of Russia and the African countries and the sides’ approach to many international matters, primarily peace, security and sustainable development in keeping with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Russia-Africa Summit is aimed at formalising a higher level of cooperation between the sides and their political will and desire to strengthen relations in all spheres in the interests of our goals – peace, stability and sustainable development.
The Russia-Africa Economic Forum, which was held yesterday, was a success for all its participants, because it boosted interaction between various economic partners. It was attended by the business elite from Russia and Africa.
The forum focused on priority issues for the African continent, primarily infrastructure, industry, agriculture, healthcare, energy and the application of modern technology.
These goals were achieved through discussion of the three main themes of the forum: ways to promote economic relations, the encouragement of joint projects, and humanitarian and cultural cooperation.
The forum provided a venue for direct dialogue between representatives of the public and private sectors of various countries, which has added a new dimension to Russian-African relations by helping to attract Russian businesses to the main economic sectors of African countries.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The open expression of Russian and African views on many issues of mutual interest, above all the development of political, economic, trade, scientific, technological and humanitarian relations, accelerated our movement towards our goals. It has also helped the heads of state and government from Africa and Russia to adopt a final declaration that reflects the principles coordinated by the sides, the most important of which are respect for international law and the UN Charter, the movement towards peace and security through the creation of more equal and fair international relations and a world order based on the principles of multilateralism, respect for national sovereignty, non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries and the peaceful settlement of crises, as well as the protection of national identity and civilisational and cultural pluralism.
Our declaration has reaffirmed the goals of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We have approved a ministerial mechanism for promoting dialogue and partnership. We appreciate all these moves and believe that they have created a solid foundation for the further development of Russian-African relations.
Aware of our common responsibility, the Russian and African sides will continue coordinating their efforts to monitor the implementation of the documents adopted at the summit, because this meets the desires and aspirations of African nations and the friendly Russian Federation.
All of us are responsible for working constructively on the basis of our achievements and for joining efforts to consolidate the results of the first Russia-Africa Summit in order to meet the aspirations of the African continent and African nations as fully as possible, as well as the aspirations of our compatriots outside Africa who closely followed the summit hoping for positive results, which they believe will help us to materialise the desires and hopes of the rising generations.
Peace and mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you.