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09/11/2021

Russia’s return to Africa

Russia’s return to Africa

By Ali Rıza Taşdelen

The Atlantic Camp or in other word the West led by the US imperialism is crushing down. Since the 2000s, a new civilization is being born, rising up from Asia and led by China. Humanity is witnessing the rise of a new world.

Countries that have imperial heritage and tradition, such as China, Russia and Turkey, establish this new world. Wherever the Western hegemony ends, these countries show up and replace very fast Western powers.

African countries rapidly free themselves from the influence of imperialist countries like the US and France, developing good relations instead with the new actors of the world such as China, Russia and Turkey. The era of 200 years of French colonialism is coming to an end in Africa, while the Asian Age begins in this continent. China is becoming trade partner No. 1 in Africa, while Russia takes important steps in the continent concerning both arms trade as well as oil, gas and mining cooperation.

Russia made good use of the Soviet Union’s heritage

In the 1960s, African countries received great support from the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in their struggle against colonialism and for independence. During the Cold War, the USSR was in competition with Western countries, and thus, it has not only developed good political and cultural relations with African countries, it also realized important investments in the sectors of industry, agriculture, military and civil education. Moscow was also the most important arms provider to Africa in those years.

When the Soviet Union dissolved in the beginning of the 1990s, political and economic relations were interrupted fully and immediately.

Putin restarts Russian-African relations

In the beginning of the 2000s, Russia under the leadership of President Putin started to revive the Soviet Union’s heritage.

Russian companies headed towards Africa especially in the sectors of oil, natural gas, uranium and gold mining. In the recent years, Sudan, Zambia, Ruanda, Ethiopia, Egypt and Nigeria have started constructing Russian nuclear energy plants.

Russia commercial and security relations with African countries accelerated even more after the West introduced sanctions against Moscow in 2014 following the Crimea crisis.

Currently the world’s second biggest exporter of arms, Russia has become No. 1 provider for weapons in Africa. African countries import 35% of all their arms from Russia. The US and France have together meanwhile only a share of 16.5%. Moreover, besides of North African countries, 25 countries of the Sub-Saharan Africa have military and technical cooperation with Russia.

Let us in that context underline the fact that Africa countries had a debt of 20 billion dollars stemming from the times of the Soviet Union – which Russia has deleted from the books.

Russia – Africa Summit

The first Russia – Africa Summit, held in October 2019 in Sochi, has contributed greatly to the accelerated progress of mutual relations.

Leaders of 43 African countries have taken part in the summit, where agreements worth 12.5 billion dollars were signed.

In the summit’s opening speech, Russian President Putin declared the target to double the current bilateral trade volume of 20 billion dollars within 4 to 5 years.

It should also be mentioned that although Russian exports to Africa in terms of arms and equipment are two times of those of China, Moscow still lags behind Beijing in terms of general economic cooperation.

The fact that these two vanguard countries of Asia leave the western, hegemonial and colonial powers behind in both economic and military terms will further liberate the Africans and open the path for further independence of African states.

United World International

Independent analytical center where political scientists and experts in international relations from various countries exchange their opinions and views.

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