As the Eastern European country plans to host 47 African leaders between October 23 and 24 at a summit, Putin said he is ready to embrace African solutions for African problems.
“We see how an array of Western countries are resorting to pressure, intimidation and blackmail of sovereign African governments,” Putin told TASS news agency, ahead of a summit with African leaders.
He noted: “They are using such methods to try to return lost influence and dominance in their former colonies in a new guise and rushing to pump out maximum profits and to exploit the continent.”
The Summit, according to The Kremlin, will take place at the Black Sea city of Sochi. It will be Moscow’s first Russia-Africa summit and part of an ambitious push for influence and business in Africa. It will be co-chaired by Egyptian President and African Union Chairman Abdelfattah Alsisi.
The Summit will focus particular attention on actual and potential relations between Russia and the nations of Africa, the development of interaction in the political, economic, humanitarian, and cultural fields among others with an emphasis on finding ways to accelerate and develop the entire range of Russian-African cooperation in a systematic way, says the Summit’s website.
Russian country has military cooperation agreements with over 30 African countries. Recently, Rwanda deepened its relations with Russia by signing a pact to advance the use of nuclear energy for “peaceful purposes”, The East African newspaper reports. According to the BBC, the technology will be used in the agriculture, energy production and environment protection.
Russia’s interests in Africa are manifold, says Eugene Steinberg, an assistant editor at the Council on Foreign Relations. In a blog post, he said: “As economic sanctions constrict its trade with the West, Africa is becoming an increasingly attractive investment opportunity. At the same time, Africa’s fifty-four countries represent a political opportunity to relieve Russia’s isolation and build support for its actions in the UN. Finally, Russia’s prominence in Africa lends credibility to its reassertion of world power status. The effectiveness of Russia’s re-engagement policy is still in question, but its progress is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.”