Russia says it is expecting African governments and businesses to come to Sochi summit with a “solid package of proposals” on expanding ties with the continent.
The Russia-Africa summit, which holds Oct 23-24 in Sochi, follows Moscow’s few years of a concentrated diplomatic, economic and military push as it seeks to deepen ties with Africa.
Dozens of African leaders, including President Muhammadu Buhari, are expected at the top-level meeting, which will be co-chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
“We expect that our African colleagues, representatives of the business community will come to Sochi with a solid package of proposals aimed at enhancing bilateral relations,” Putin said in an interview with the state news agency TASS.
“We will consider these initiatives with great interest and decide what could be launched right away and what will require further elaboration.”
Putin said Russia has a lot to offer “our African friends” but noted that details of the offers would be discussed at the summit.
He said the summit was to build a fair partnership relations based on equality and mutual practical interest.
“We intend to discuss relevant ideas with our partners, systematise and reflect them as concretely as possible in the final declaration,” he said.
The summit is coming at a time when the geopolitical competition for what analysts called the new scramble for Africa is intense.
But Putin said Russia has no intent to “participate in a new ‘re-partition’ of the continent’s wealth” but to engage in competition for cooperation in compliance with the law.
The Russian leader also expressed confidence that Africans were not interested in the escalation of confrontation between the major powers in the continent.
“On the contrary, they would like the rivalry to give way to cooperation in addressing urgent challenges for Africa, such as terrorism, crime, drug trafficking, uncontrolled migration, poverty, highly infectious diseases. I would like to reiterate that this is the kind of work Russia is willing to participate in.
“Our African agenda is positive and future-oriented. We do not ally with someone against someone else, and we strongly oppose any geopolitical “games” involving Africa,” he said.