Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Botswana
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26 april / 2019

Talking points of the Ambassador of the Russian Federation H.E. V. Sibilev at the Conference “Conversation with Africa”, sub-theme “Africa as a global partner”

1. Economic cooperation with Africa

Today Africa is one of the emerging regions whicheconomy and population is growing in an unparalleled way. That is why, a lot of developed countries consider it as a continent of the future and a new strategic partner.

I should acknowledge that the Russian economic cooperation with Africa’s countries is not as far advanced as our political ties. However, it has improved for the past few years.Our trade with Sub-Saharan countries amounted to $3.5 billion in 2018, compared to $2.2 billion in 2015. Russian companies conduct exploration, develop oil and gas deposits, take part in national programmes to build gas pipelines and gas storage facilities, provide technical maintenance for hydroelectric power stations, as well as carry out feasibility studies for the construction of nuclear power plantsand technology centers. Cooperation in high technology is also developing. There are good prospects for partnership in transport, industry and agriculture.

We have a number of examples of productive cooperation. Alrosa is involved in diamond mining in Angola’s largest Katoka deposit and starts working in Zimbabwe after the official visit of its president H.E. Mr. E.Mnangagwa to Russia in January 2019. In Guinea, RUSAL (Russian aluminium company) is mining bauxite at the Friguia deposit and works under the Dian-Dian concession agreement. RUSAL owns 85% of Alscon, a Nigerian aluminium company. A consortium of a number of our companies, including the Vi Holding investment and industrial group is developing Darwendale, a project on one of the largest deposits of platinum-group metals in Zimbabwe. Rosneft has won a tender for gas prospecting on the continental shelf in Mozambique. Nordgold is mining gold in Burkina Faso and Guinea, while Global Resources is involved in geological prospecting for gold in Mali and uranium in Niger. GeoProMining is involved in extracting and processing of titaniferous sands in Guinea-Bissau, RENOVA is mining manganese ore in South Africa, while Severstal is taking part in developing a phosphate deposit in Guinea-Bissau. These and other examples allow us to look to the future with optimism.

Apart from mining, Russia and African countries are cooperating on high technology.Rosatom is considering a number of projects that are of interest to Africans, for instance the creation of a nuclear research and technology centre in Zambia. Nigeria has a similar project. There are good prospects for cooperation with Ghana, Tanzania and Ethiopia. Talks are underway on the construction of a nuclear power plant in South Africa.

Cooperation with African countries is not limited by bilateral relations. During its unchanged membership in UN Economic and Social Committee (ECOSOC), the Russian Federation has made a constructive contribution to strengthening its role as the main mechanism for system-wide coordination of the UN activities in the field of sustainable development, including its economic, social and environmental dimensions, as well as in humanitarian assistance.

At theECOSOC site, the Russian Federation has advocated for increasing effectiveness of the Council’s work, mobilizing its potential for an effective response to the escalating challenges and threats that stand in the way of successfully implementing the sustainable development agenda for the period until 2030.

2. International Economic Forums in Russia

The Russian side are also glad to see the African representatives at economic, investment and business forums in our country. Annually we organise 4 big such events the Sochi Investment Forum (February 14-15, 2019), Yalta International Economic Forum (April 18-20, 2019), St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (June 6-8, 2019), the Vladivostok Eastern Economic Forum (September 4-6, 2019) to attract interested parties from the whole world and promote bilateral cooperation.

At the 2018 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum special attention was paid to the African continent. President F. Touadera, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mozambiue J. Pacheco, other ministers and heads of parliaments from a number of African countries, accredited ambassadors to Russia and members of African and African Union delegations participated there.

The Russia Africa session featured an in-depth discussion of the current state and prospects of trade, economic and investment cooperation between Russia and African counties. The participants noted that the interest of Russian and African businesses in establishing mutually beneficial ties and implementing joint projects both in Russia and Africa has increased. In this case, the need to improve mutual awareness of trade and investment potential and business specifics, including current legislation, was underscored.

3. Possible projects in Botswana

In the field of Russian-Botswana relations, there is a possibility to launch the export of Botswana beef to Russia. In the second part of this year the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance plans to visit Botswana to audit the national veterinary control system and inspect the meat industry enterprises.

Some other Russian companies such as Rostech, St. Petersburg Electrotechnical Company, Ulan-Uden Aviation Factory, Hydroproject Institute, expressed their interest in access to the Botswana market. The respective negotiations with Botswana authorities concerning the possible common project implementation continue. The high possibility to attract Russian investors to Botswana also exists in the field of mining (coal, uranium, nonferrous metals), energy, agriculture, banking and tourism.

4. Russia-Africa Summit

The first Russia-Africa Business Forum will be held on October 23, 2019 followed bythe respective Summit. Heads of state and government of most African countries as well as the regional organizations such as SADC are expected to visit Sochi to discuss the possible projects with the Russian Federation in different spheres of mutual interests. A wide range of representatives of political and business circles will be invited as well. We hope that the wide and representative Botswana delegation of business circles is able to join them to give a fresh impetus to the cooperation between our countries.