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Second Russia – Africa Summit: Balance of Power

Aisha Ghoneimy/ PhD Researcher , Staff Member at Faculty of Economics and Political Science – Cairo University

In the midst of rapid international movements among the major powers in a multi-polar political arena which have been exacerbated by imbalance of international powers, the second Russian-African summit witnessed momentum and political movement that is not only of an economic nature, rather it is the humanitarian nature as well, and this is evident in the title of this year’s summit, ” Second Summit Russia–Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum, for peace, security and development”.

Noteworthy economic development couldn’t be achieved without taking into account the humanitarian dimension in terms of developing human capital and achieving social justice in African countries, while consolidating security, stability and peace throughout the African continent.

Deepening cooperation between the African continent and the Russian Federation aims at enhancing peace and security, combating threats of terrorism, activating economic development paths, especially the development of infrastructure, agricultural manufacturing and industrial transformation by benefiting from advanced Russian technology, in addition to strengthening cultural and historical ties.

It is worth noting that Egypt played a leading role in launching the first edition of the Russian-African Summit during Egypt’s presidency of the African Union in 2019, with the aim of supporting and deepening the historical relations of cooperation between the African continent and Russia, in addition to strengthening mechanisms of political and economic dialogue to set solutions for addressing common challenges and threats. This resulted from Egypt’s pivotal role as a main pillar to support security and stability in Africa and the Middle East, as well as Egypt’s multilateral diplomacy approach, maintaining balanced and neutral relations, besides providing good offices in regional and international issues in order to maintain stability and security in light of a new world order characterized by multi-polarity, where major powers wrestle.

The bilateral cooperation between Egypt and Russia is considered as the cornerstone for extending and reviving the historical roots of cooperation between African countries and Russia, as the Egyptian-Russian relations witnessed a significant development over the past years, which culminated in the signing of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement in 2018, in addition to deepening cooperation in many strategic areas and joint projects; especially the project of the Russian industrial zone in the economic zone of the Suez Canal, and the project of the Dabaa nuclear power plant, in addition to the cooperation in the field of developing the transport and railway system, besides joint cooperation in the field of security and combating terrorism.

The Russian-African summit embodied the common interests and benefits between Russia and the African continent, in terms of establishing sustainable cooperation, maximizing benefit from exchanging economic benefits, and experiences between Russia and African countries in the fields of advanced technology, and developing educational system, in addition to industrial, agricultural and environmental development, as well as bolstering the health system in the African continent with the aim of elimination of epidemics and rampant diseases that hinder the process of sustainable development.

The cooperation between African countries and Russia is critical, as African peoples are looking forward to facing the huge economic challenges, on top of which is the accumulation of debt, which necessitates the speedy confrontation of these challenges and the completion of the continental development path.

On the other front, Russia is seeking to restore its pivotal role in the fields of economic development, the promotion of trade exchange, and the consolidation of Russia’s humanitarian role on the international arena. Noteworthy, Russia expressed its willingness to provide wheat free of charge in emergency conditions and to the neediest countries, bearing shipping and transportation expenses. In addition, the African continent is recognized a golden opportunity for Russian investments, which helps accelerate the pace of African economic integration and increases trade exchange and infrastructure development in African countries, considering that African countries are rich in natural and human resources that make them a fertile investment opportunity in various fields.

Bearing in mind Russia attained political and economic gains from the summit through its effective participation and cooperation, sending a significant message to the world public opinion that affirms the strength of the Russian Federation as one of the poles of the new world order and in spite of the economic sanctions imposed by the West on Russia, it is still able to extend the bonds of economic, political and military cooperation, with an emphasis on pursuing a political solution in the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, where visions in the summit agreed on quickly resolving the crisis politically in a peaceful manner , so that the current humanitarian crises could be ended and the economic and financial negative repercussions could be diminished, especially in developing and African countries, and then, security and international stability would be maintained.

Egypt is keen on consolidating means of sustainable cooperation between the African continent and the Russian Federation, through five fundamental pillars;

The first pillar: Enhancing peace and security in the African continent by supporting African capabilities, activating Egypt’s role in post-conflict reconstruction and development at the level of the African Union, and maintaining the periodicity of the Aswan Forum for Peace, Security and Sustainable Development as an important and main dialogue platform.

The second pillar: Activating the link between peace, security and development, and mobilizing financial resources for investment in infrastructure and continental interconnected projects, through Egypt’s presidency of the Steering Committee of Heads of State and Government of the African Union Agency for Development (NEPAD) for the years 2023 and 2024.

The third pillar: Achieving food security in the African continent as a critical priority, by strengthening the capabilities of the continent and finding solutions to provide food, fertilizers, agricultural technology and the necessary financing mechanisms for it.

The fourth pillar: Preserving biodiversity and environmental and health development in the African continent, by facing the challenges of climate change and exploring means to provide the necessary financing mechanisms.

The fifth pillar: Addressing the roots and causes of crises and formulating peaceful and sustainable political solutions to the current conflicts and disputes in accordance with the goals and principles of the United Nations Charter and international law, while preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.

Most importantly, the vision of Egypt is compatible in using peaceful political means in settling conflicts and disputes, promoting pluralism and supporting developing countries and African countries in achieving sustainable economic development and eliminating multidimensional poverty. Accordingly, the ties between Egypt, Russia and the African continent constitute effective forces on the international arena in terms of strengthening ties economically, politically and socially in line with promoting the goals of the United Nations Agenda for 2030 in emerging and developing countries, and on top of these goals are mitigating the effects of climate change and facilitating negotiations of international trade, maintaining food, energy and water security, eradicating multidimensional poverty, developing human capital, as well as stimulating international cooperation in implementing the 2030 International Development Agenda and supporting development financing in Africa.

Last but not least, the successive international developments necessitate maintaining the international balance of power, which strengthens cooperation at all levels in order to achieve comprehensive peace and sustainable development, and pushes for deepening cooperation between African countries and Russia. This would make the peoples of the countries of the world, especially the developing countries and African countries; remain away from being negatively affected from the conflicts and disputes existing on the international arena. This is in addition to taking into account the needs of developing countries, led by the countries of the African continent, with regard to the negative repercussions on their economies as a result of these conflicts and disputes, by providing food and fertilizers and discussing financing mechanisms that support agricultural and food systems in the African continent, reaching a consensual solution regarding an export agreement of wheat, which takes into account the demands and interests of all parties and puts an end to the continuous rise in the prices of wheat. 

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