President Vladimir Putin proffers help to Africa with no strings attached unlike those he regards as “the exploitative West.”
In-line with Russia’s plan to increase her influence in Africa; Putin has offered help to African countries without expecting anything in return. This statement was made ahead of the first-ever Russia-Africa summit and economic forum which is to be held in Sochi, Russia from 23rd – 24th October, 2019 . Over 49 African leaders and 3,000 delegates will be in attendance as invitations have been sent.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will chair the summit and economic forum. The forum intends to gather Russian and African officials to canvass and agree on how to improve trade and economical relationships between both parties.
Russia also plans to exhibit the latest Russian made weapons at the summit; including its S-400 missile defence system and other air defence systems as well as non-military equipment.
Russia to increase presence in Africa
Over the years with Russia planning to mount up its political influence in the world as a whole; there has been a rapid increase in the mutual relationship between Russia and Africa. Russia is exploring the potential market in Africa for Russian made weapons; while Africa as a continent is seeking to develop even more.
In the past, trade between Russia and Africa have been very low; but in 2017 alone, trade between Russia and Africa increased by 25% in food supply, metals, machinery and equipment sectors. Furthermore last year (2018), trade between Russia and Africa also saw an upward progress of US$20 billion. Although the amount may sound huge, according to Eurostat; Russia is still not amongst Africa’s first five (5) largest trade partners. Top five Africa largest trade partners include; European Union, China, India, the United States and the United Arab Emirates.
Russia and U.S at war
Because of the growing political and economical influence of Moscow in Africa as well as that of China; The United States has attributed shady activities as reasons for this growth, this is all in a bid to countering it. According to the U.S National Security adviser John Bolton, Moscow has corrupt and predatory business practices which include trading of arms and energy for votes at the United Nations.
But in his defence, Putin accuses the West of intimidating African countries into exploring their resources.
“We see how an array of Western countries are resorting to pressure, intimidation and blackmail of sovereign African governments. 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.” – Putin
He did not name specific countries, but rather referred to former colonial powers in the continent.
Pre to the Russia-Africa summit and economic forum, Putin said Russia is ready to offer help without “political or other conditions” and to embrace the principle of African solutions for African problems.