By Salif Atojoko
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Africa is poised to take its rightful place in the system of global economic links.
Putin said this at a trilateral meeting with Mr Azali Assoumani, Chairperson of the African Union and President of the Union of the Comoros, and Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
The event held in St. Petersburg, Russia.
At the meeting, which preceded the Russia-Africa Summit 2023, Putin said he viewed the African Union as a leading regional organisation that shaped modern security structure on the continent.
“I would like to remind you that Russia was one of the first to react positively to the initiative advanced by the President of Senegal, who preceded you in this position, for granting the African Union full membership in the G20.
“We hope that the decision will be adopted at the G20 Summit in New Delhi in September.
“As before, Russia is ready to help strengthen African countries’ sovereignty and contribute to Africa becoming a key partner in the new system of the multipolar world order,” he said.
He added that Russia would give priority attention to the issues at the summit, which opened on Thursday.
“We will also discuss practical decisions on building up trade and economic cooperation, ensuring food and energy security, and developing national healthcare systems.
“The planned adoption of the declaration of the Second Russia–Africa Summit and the Russia–African Union Action Plan for 2023–2024 will help launch practical efforts in the areas mentioned above and many others,” the Russian president said.
According to him, in spite of difficulties created by the coronavirus pandemic and sanctions imposed against Russia, the country had ensured the growth of its trade and economic ties.
“Our mutual trade reached approximately 18 billion dollars in 2022 and increased by nearly 35 per cent in the first six months of 2023.
“Russia remains a reliable food supplier for Africa.
“In 2022, Russian food exports amounted to 4.7 billion dollars. Many large Russian companies are successfully working in Africa.
“The key spheres of our cooperation include energy, subsoil use, agriculture. There are good opportunities for cooperation in research and technology, education and culture,” Putin said.
He said Russia highly valued its relationship with the Union of the Comoros which, he said, was based on the principles of mutual respect and balance of each other’s interests.
He added that the country had development potential in a number of spheres.
“We are open to cooperation with your country in all areas,” he added.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) is one of the media partners of the Russia-Africa Summit 2023 and its Managing Director, Mr Buki Ponle, is also attending the event. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Ijeoma Popoola