The Russian Government is to allocate more than US$90 million as assistance to lower Africa’s debt burden.
The aid, announced at the Second Summit of the Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum, is to help the continent to tackle its debt issues.
African countries’ debt issues before the East European giant have been settled by about 90 per cent, with their indebtedness written off by Moscow totalling US$23 billion.
In an address at the Summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin said African states still suffered from displays of colonialism – in the economy, in particular.
“The main thing is that the Summit has again confirmed the firm resolve of both Russia and Africa to continue developing mutually beneficial partnerships and seeking new forms and areas.
“We appreciate this and are convinced of the successful future of Russia-Africa relations.
“They rest on the traditions of time-tested friendship, and historical experience of multifaceted productive interaction dating back to the early period in African states’ formation,” he noted.
One of the key highlights of the Summit is the adoption of the St Petersburg Declaration.
With this, the parties have pledged to commit to the formation of a fair and democratic multi-polar world order based on the universally recognised principles of international law and the United Nations Charter.
Africa’s 1.3 billion people and its 54 nations that make up the largest voting bloc at the UN have convinced a growing number of powers, the latest of which is the United States (US), to organise such gatherings.
The Summit discussed the prospects for the further development of relations between Africa and Russia with an emphasis on assistance to the national sovereign development of the continent.
The key targets were ensuring fair access to food, fertilisers, modern technologies and energy resources, said the Kremlin Foreign Policy Advisor, Yuri Ushakov.
He noted that the role of Africa was growing, saying the demand for an African position on the current state of affairs on the world stage was on the ascendancy.
On the sidelines of the Summit, the 2023-2026 Russia-Africa Partnership Forum Action Plan was signed by Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, and AU Director of Peace and Security Division of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, Mr Siraj Tagesa Shurafa.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the African Union (AU) and Comoros President, Mr Azali Assouman, addressing a joint press conference, monitored by the Ghana News Agency (GNA), observed that Russia had stood with the continent during the most difficult times.
“It was one of the first countries to help with fighting colonialism, apartheid and slavery.
“So, for many centuries, we have had good relations, but this time we need a new impetus to the relationship to take it forward,” said Mr Assouman.
He paid tribute to Russia for pledging to assist Africa with the training of professionals and grain supplies.
On the Russia-Ukraine political crisis, the AU Chair called for peace between the two countries.
“What we need is a ceasefire because war is always unpredictable. The longer it lasts, the more unpredictable it becomes,” he said.
Many other African leaders called for ways to resolve the conflict.
South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, stated that: “Negotiations and dialogue, as well as a commitment to the UN Charter, are necessary for a peaceful and fair resolution of conflicts”.
“The African initiative deserves the greatest attention and it should not be underestimated,” President of the Republic of Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso, said, calling for an end to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
The conflict is affecting the entire world in a negative way, the African Union Commission Chairman, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said.
“Of course, we are concerned over the grain supply issue,” he said, adding that it is “necessary to immediately and promptly resolve the problem of food shipments to countries in need”.