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Russian-African relations discussed at Sputnik roundtable

Russian-African relations
Image : Sputnik

Sputnik

Sputnik news agency and radio broadcaster held a roundtable Moscow – Johannesburg – Cairo – Addis Ababa – Eldoret on the theme: “Russia – African Union: topical issues of cooperation”.

Among the participants were Beyene Petros, Director General of the Policy Studies Institute (PSI) (Ethiopia); Mahasha Rampedi, African Times Editor-in-Chief (South Africa); Frank Masese, Director of Linkages and collaboration at Eldoret University (Kenya); Mostafa Ahmed, Senior Researcher at Al Habtoor Research Centre (Egypt); Alexander Shchipin, Head of Information, Sputnik Africa in Ethiopia; Valens Maniragena, Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Asian and African Studies of Saint Petersburg State University and Mary Avdalyan, Lecturer at the Institute of Asian and African Studies at Lomonosov Moscow State University.

Opening the discussion, Alexander Shchipin, Head of Information, Sputnik Africa in Ethiopia, said: “The Soviet Union supported African countries in their struggle for independence. And now we feel the support of African countries: they support Russia, and we really do appreciate it. We are aware that our goals are generally the same – to free the world from any form of neo-colonialism and to build a multipolar world, a world of equality.”

Beyene Petros, Director General of the Policy Studies Institute (PSI), commenting on Russian-Ethiopian cooperation, noted the rich and diverse historical experience of interaction between the two countries, which allows them to maintain and develop economic and scientific-educational ties despite political changes in the world. Expert highlighted that Russian companies are now investing in cooperation projects with Ethiopia in a wide range of areas – many Ethiopian institutions have signed agreements with Russian organisations to develop cooperation, training and joint research.

Valens Maniragena, Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Asian and African Studies of Saint Petersburg State University, stressed the need to promote African languages and culture in Russia, including through the creation of specialised venues in Russian cities: “If there are not only Houses of Russian Culture in Addis Ababa, Bamako, Nairobi, South Africa… But if there is a permanent House of African Culture in Moscow, people will really be able to come and get to know African culture”.

Mahasha Rampedi, African Times Editor-in-Chief said that young leaders are emerging in many African countries who are ready to fight neo-colonialism and create various alliances to confront the former metropolises. The expert emphasised that African countries see Russia and China as agents of justice in world affairs, who are guided by the principles of mutual respect and seek to fight imperialism in the world.  “Russia’s ties with Africa have been cemented so much that the West may no regain its influence. Why? Because it sees itself as a big brother”, the expert concluded.

Frank Masese, Director of Linkages and collaboration at Eldoret University, noted the great role of Russian-Kenyan co-operation in the energy sector: “Kenya is now seeking to diversify its energy sector, so co-operation with Russia in the nuclear energy sector is a good way to support our economy”.

Mostafa Ahmed, Senior Researcher at Al Habtoor Research Centre, spoke about the importance of bilateral relations between Russia and Egypt. In particular, the expert pointed out that Russia plays a very important role in supporting the countries of West Africa in their fight against terrorism. The researcher drew attention to the fact that Russia-Egypt relations have a long history of cooperation in a variety of areas, including in the military sphere and that the Soviet Union made a great contribution to the re-equipment of the Egyptian army.

The expert meeting was a continuation of the series of events “Russia’s Cooperation with Asia, Africa and Latin America – Challenges and Prospects”. The project is implemented in partnership with the Gorchakov Foundation and the Center for Assistance to Humanitarian and Educational Programs. 

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