by Obi Vincent
Brazzaville, Dec. 4, 2020 Russian Ambassador in Congo, Georgy Chepik, said on Wednesday in Brazzaville that the level of trade between his country and Africa amounts to US$ 1 billion, according to official sources on Thursday.
“At the moment, this is a good result, but much remains to be done to improve this figure,” the Russian diplomat said, noting that “Russian companies are currently all over Africa”.
According to Mr. Chepik, “the Russian side has structured itself for the development of this cooperation. Russia’s commitments to Africa will not be postponed. Russia takes seriously the need to cooperate with Africa, which is the continent of our long-standing traditional friends”.
“Russia has done a great job. In accordance with the conclusions of the Sochi Summit, we have created a Russia-Africa partnership. It is a completely new mechanism that should give this Russian-African cooperation a more structured character,” he added.
In the 2019 Sochi Summit, Russia made a number of commitments to support Africa, particularly in the construction of infrastructure. For the Russian diplomat, the summit is expected to open a new chapter in relations between Russia and Africa.
According to the diplomat, before the Russia-Africa summit in 2022, annual political consultations will be held between foreign ministers of both sides; the first consultations took place last July, by videoconference.
Noting the “significant” contribution of his country to Africa in the field of health, including the fight against infectious diseases such as Ebola and COVID-19, Chepik said Russia “is among the first to respond to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2015 where it has released US$ 60 million.
In Guinea, it has deployed an anti-COVID-19 brigade and a military field hospital”.
Still, within the framework of cooperation between Russia and Africa, he also mentioned the training of executives. For the year 2020-2021, 8,150 African students have been enrolled in Russian universities.
In total, more than 20,000 African students are currently studying in Russia. “These are only civilian students. We also train police, military and peacekeeping personnel,” the Russian ambassador said.