Sochi Summit 2019: New Milestones of Russia-Africa Relations
In the past few decades, Russia-Africa relations emerged as a new phase relying upon the past Soviet Union's legacy in terms of diplomacy, economic development as well as military-based collaborations. In this context, the 2019 first Russia-Africa held in Sochi was one of the milestones to the commencement of a new chapter in Rus-Africa relations in contemporary periods. The newly emerging Russian cooperation with Africa deepens a strengthening of partnerships through trade and investment, military issues, and political support to African leaders, particularly in the area of security collaborations. So far Russia's involvement in Africa increasing from time to time despite minor economic players when it is compared to the US, China, EU, and India in the continent.
Following the first Russia-Africa summit of 2019 which was attended by 43 African States leaders, the military-based negotiation started and an agreement was reached with 21 African countries to establish military bases. The cooperation agreement includes counter-terrorism training, while currently, Russia is the major supplier of arms in Africa as well.
Why is Russia in Africa Today?
Moscow change its policy and strategy after it was pushed out of G8 due to sanctions imposed by the US, the EU, and others after it invades Ukrainian Crimea in 2014. Besides, Russia aims to acquire new markets and natural resources like others, China and India in order to gain new allies as well as expand its power via its economic ecosystem in the entire globe.
The first Russia-Africa summit was held in Sochi, on 24 October 2019, discussion has been highly focused on forty-seven points of declaration and also more agendas which were acting in accordance with the national legislation of the Russian Federation and African states. The main theme of the discussion summary is as follows; establishment of a mechanism of dialogue partnership every three years, political cooperation, security, and legal issues, trade and economic partnership, scientific, technical, humanitarian, and information cooperation as well as environmental protection according to the initiative of the UN Secretary-General and comprehensive mutual benefits for both Russia and African countries.
The Influence of Russia on Africa
Historically the relationship between Moscow and African countries shaped by the geopolitical competition goes back to USSR times and also they shared a common vision of anti-colonialism, modernization, and nation-building at large. Moreover, various African leaders influenced and shared some Moscow policies, not only today but also in the past. For instance, the first prime Minister of Congo Khrushchev, Patrice Lumumba, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Kenneth Kaunda in Zambia, Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana, Leopold Senghor of Senegal, Sekou Toure of Guinea, and Modibo Keita of Mali are few African leaders attached with Marxist-Leninist socialism ideology during that period in one way or others.
Currently, depending on newly emerged Russia-Africa relations, Russia plays a great role by supporting African leaders in foreign policy and strategic decision-making. Some studies reveal that in at 37.6% whereas the US, France, and China followed by 16.3%, 14.6%, and 9.2% respectively. The agreement signed between 21 African countries related to military bases vs Moscow seems to strengthen the issues to a higher level.
So far the Russia-Africa summit was attended by 43 African heads of State and co-hosted jointly by the Russian presidents Vladimir Putin and Adel Fattah el-Sisi Egypt presidents.
After the summit, at a UN General Assembly resolution associated with Russia’s war on Ukraine, Erteria voted against the UN and 18 other African countries abstained during votes including South Africa, Mali, Mozambique, and Angola.
Nevertheless, the influence that Russia imposes on Africa is not the same as that of former Soviet Union counter-imperialism or socialist ideology, but nowadays Putin|Moscow focuses on access to African authoritarian leaders' ties to rebuild Russia as a world power again. To succeed in its strategy, Moscow relies on manipulating African elections in its favor and keeping in touch with more fragile countries and resource-rich countries as well.
The trade volume between Russia-Africa doubled in 2021 estimated to be $20 billion since 2015. It is worth mentioning that in the export-import goods and services relations, Russia exported $14 billion in goods and services, but only imported $5 billion from African products.
The Impact of Russia Ukraine Crisis on African Cooperation
Russia Ukraine war was the most crisis after world war II in European history and it leads to a new corner for Russia-African partnerships. After this war turmoil, the wheat and some cereals imported from both (Russia and Ukraine) countries to Africa dropped dramatically. For instance, wheat import in Tunisia was fallen by 15%, South Africa by 7%, Cameroon by 14%, Algeria, Ethiopia, and Libya by 9.6%, Kenya by 7.9%, Uganda by 7.1%, Morocco by 6.2%, and Mozambique 6% respectively from Ukraine. On average the import of the other cereals decrease by 19% and the import of grains decreased by 25% on the other side.
Furthermore, most African or poor countries suffer a lot in terms of food security and energy prices during Russia Ukraine war after corona pandemic and the climate change crisis, particularly. Obviously, no doubt that not only Africa but also the entire world faces a huge loss and crisis due to the Russia-Ukraine wars, especially energy prices, tourism destinations, and food prices at the stage of the international market. Thus, due to this reason, the vulnerability of African countries is higher than others, when it is a comparison with the developed world.
The war between Russia and Ukraine influenced the entire world trade ecosystem or network. Furthermore, it has put a lot of pressure on Africa's economic conditions, particularly on the high rocketing of food prices as well as energy prices in one way or another. Historically, Russia-Africa relation is not new, but the current discussion and summit have enhanced and make to strengthen the relationship as well as partnership cooperation to a higher level in order to uplift the economic ties via trade and military-based cooperation more than a bilateral Russia-African single state to the entire continent including AU and other continent-based various organizations accordingly.