The 2nd Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Summit has ended with a declaration to address common challenges and deepen relations between Russia and African countries.
The event held on Thursday and Friday in St Petersburg and recorded the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Russia and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on basic principles of relations and cooperation.
Also, there was an MoU between Russia and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) on basic principles of relations and cooperation.
At the joint declaration at the end of the event, the two sides committed to strengthen dialogue partnership and cooperation on a wide range of areas.
They include politics, security, economics and humanitarian issues, in the interests of greater mutual benefits and prosperity.
Along the usual reiteration of the need for free and fair trade practices, they agreed to identify economic sectors in Russia and Africa to implement mutual trade support measures, elaborate sector development programmes and enhance trade relations.
Highlighting the St. Petersburg Declaration endorsed by the leaders, President Vladimir Putin of Russia said it enshrined strategic dimensions for development of cooperation between Russia and African states for the long term.
According to Putin, the commitment of all of the states to shape a just and democratic multipolar world order has been confirmed.
“A world order based on universal principles of international law and the UN Charter.
“The declaration reflects common commitment to contrary near colonialism, use of illegitimate sanctions, attempts to undermine traditional moral values.
“The Sochi agreement has been confirmed that Russian African summits will be held once every three years.
“In between the summits between Russia and Africa, there will be a mechanism of dialect partnership put in place.
“There will be regular political consultations between Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Russia, African States and the leadership of the African Union.
“It is also planned to establish a new permanent Russian African mechanism to coordinate on the matters of security.
“This includes such relevant topics as fight against terrorism and extremism, food security, information technology, non- placement of weapons in outer space and climate change.
“It is very telling that many constructive ideas and useful practical notions were expressed by our African friends during today’s meetings.
“Naturally, we’ll take them into consideration,’’ the President said.
Putin further explained that representatives of African states showed political will and demonstrated their independence and interest in developing cooperation with Russia.
“We appreciate that and we are convinced that there is a successful future for Russian African relations.
“This is based on traditions of time tested friendship, as well as history of multifaceted and fruitful cooperation that dates back to the early period of African countries building their statehood,’’ he said.
Putin also said that the summit confirmed the firm commitment both by Russia and Africa to further develop and fighting new forms and new spheres of mutually beneficial partnership.
“In this context, it is very telling that the outcome of our work is the adoption of impressive package of joint documents,’’ he said.
The President said that many spheres of Russian African cooperation have resulted in separate declarations which spell out their harmonised approaches and benchmarks for further joint actions.
According to him, the decisions of St. Petersburg Summit are set out in a large scale 2026 action plan.
“Its goal is to quantitatively and qualitatively improve bilateral trade and its structure.
“We’re also talking about consistently transitioning to financial settlements and commercial deals to national currencies, including Ruble to eliminate trade barriers,’’ Putin said.
On his part, the Chairperson of the AU and President of the Union of the Comoros, Azali Assoumani, said that Africa had put in place an enabling environment for investments.
He said that Africa intended to have multiple partners critical for rapid development of the continent.
“We’re not going to have one sole partner. We will have multiple partners. If we have two or three partners, it is even better because they will attract more new partners.”
He said the setting up of the African Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was a good model that would facilitate trade in Africa.
“We are setting up a free trade area in Africa. We believe this is a very good model which will help us make headway and develop further.
“As chairperson of the AU, I can do what I can in order to accelerate the establishment of the AfCFTA.
“And I am sure that with Russia’s support we will be able to implement this project and achieve tangible results,’’ he said.
Assoumani sued for peace between Russi and Ukraine.
“The Russian president has demonstrated his willingness to help us with the supplies of grains, it is important maybe that is not enough.
“What we need is a cease fire because war is always unpredictable, the longer it lasts the more unpredictable it becomes.
“President Putin has shown us he is ready in dialogue and search for solutions and we need to convince the other party and I hope that we will be able to do that,’’ he said.