How Russia is Building Closer Ties with Africa

How Russia is Building Closer Ties with Africa

 How Russia is Building Closer Ties with Africa

Russia is forging closer ties with Africa by providing security, technology and military guidance.

Africa has become a key market for Russia's arms industry. Almost half of all the arms coming into Africa come from Russia, according to the country's state arms export agency.

The main importers are Algeria and Egypt, but there have been new markets in Nigeria, Tanzania and Cameroon.

Africa, in total, has more than a quarter of the votes at the UN General Assembly, and can be a powerful collective voice in other international bodies.

Russia has been expanding its influence in Africa in recent years and after the invasion of Ukraine, it will be expecting its new-found allies to provide support, or at least remain neutral, in international bodies such as the UN.

From Libya to Mali, Sudan, the Central African Republic (CAR), Mozambique and elsewhere, Russia has been getting more involved - often militarily with help fighting rebels or jihadist militants.

South Africa, which is a partner of Russia in the Brics group, has called on the country to withdraw its forces from Ukraine but said it still held out hope for a negotiated solution.

Most African countries are showing a willingness to look beyond a single foreign partner in their efforts to find stability and security

As the renewed Russia-Africa engagement gained momentum, a 2019 summit in the southern Russian city of Sochi was attended by delegates from more than 50 African countries, including 43 heads of state.

President Vladimir Putin addressed the leaders, appealing to a history of backing liberation movements and pledging to boost trade and investment.

Businesses, including state-backed commercial interests, have invested heavily in security sectors, technology and industries that extract natural resources such as oil, gas, gold and other minerals.

As Mr Putin indicated, there are historic ties stretching back to the days of the USSR, Russia's predecessor, when Africa was one of several spheres of competition between it and the US.

But from the collapse of the USSR in 1991 to the early part of the last decade, as Russia went through a period of transition, relations with Africa were not top of the agenda.

Then, regaining superpower status became a foreign policy priority for the Russian president.

Russia is not the only foreign government trying to broaden influence in Africa, home to vast resources including a surging youth population. China is also investing significantly in Africa. 

Building more mutually beneficial Africa-Russia relations depends on changes in both substance and process.

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Azamat Abdoullaev

Tech Expert

Azamat Abdoullaev is a leading ontologist and theoretical physicist who introduced a universal world model as a standard ontology/semantics for human beings and computing machines. He holds a Ph.D. in mathematics and theoretical physics. 

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