by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE second Russia–Africa Summit is a timely platform for Russia to counter the West’s so-called campaign of Russophobia.
It is the latest stage for an ally of Africa to revive ties that date back to the days of the liberation struggle when the continent was under the yoke of apartheid and colonialism.
Unlike much of Europe, Russia had no official colonial presence in Africa. Relations have expanded beyond politics, to include trade.
Themed, “For Peace, Security and Development,” a highlight of the summit in Saint Petersburg is the Development of the Russophile Movement in Africa.
This summit comes at a time Western nations are accused of a campaign of calumny against Russia in the continent.
Organisers of the summit have quoted Suleiman Ndiaye, Deputy Chairman of the International Russophile Movement (IRM), as noting that during the period of decolonisation, the Soviet Union helped African countries to liberate themselves.
“This tradition, this Soviet quality, has been preserved by Russia,” the official is quoted.
He believes that forming a friendship with Russia offered the opportunity to achieve independence, a sentiment shared by many Africans.
“We can no longer sustain the status quo of being exploited by former colonial powers, who have profited from our natural resources. Africans are realizing that the best choice for Africa is Russia,” said Ndiaye.
Earlier this year, Moscow hosted the inaugural congress of the IRM.
This attracted a significant number of African delegates.
It is anticipated the utilization of such platforms as IRM in Africa, the promotion of Russian history, culture, language and fostering stronger relations between African nations and Russia would effectively counter the campaign of Russophobia.
Discussions at the summit held on Thursday and Friday have been around such sectors as energy, education and health, food security science and technology among others.
Ruslan Edelgeriyev, President Valdimir Putin’s special adviser on climate issues, noted the energy challenges faced by Africa and how they were impeding the continent’s growth.
He said the continent is home to more than a billion people.
This population is projected to increase threefold by 2050.
“Africa is growing faster than ever, and in the near future, a very large part of its population will have an improved quality of life,” Edelgeriyev said.
He added, “But without stable access to energy and a developed energy system, no development is possible.”
Participants mentioned nuclear as a solution.
South Africa, a fellow member of India in the BRICS formation, is facing its worst energy crisis in years, with daily power cuts.
BRICS is an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
China is also enhancing ties with Africa, which has also been an ally since the days of apartheid and colonialism.
The West, particularly, the United States (US) is countering such efforts.
A summit of the BRICS is scheduled for South Africa next month but Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, will not attend following a warrant of arrest issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is accused of partisanship to the West and targeting leaders from the developing world.
In Saint Petersburg, African heads of states and government also took the opportunity to engage Putin towards fostering conditions for peace between his country and Ukraine. Africa has adopted a non-aligned stance, contrary to the West siding with Ukraine.
The first summit between Africa and Russia was held in 2019 in Sochi.
The parties pledged to cooperate on a number of areas, including cooperation in political, security, economic, science, legal, trade and humanitarian issues, as well as the establishment of Mechanism for Dialogue Partnership.
– CAJ News