Reply by Deputy Director of the Information and Press Department Artyom Kozhin to a media question on Russia’s cultural and humanitarian cooperation with the African countries
Question: Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently returned from a tour of a number of African countries. Various issues of Russian-African cooperation were discussed during talks in several countries. Education was regarded as a priority of cooperation. How important is education for the further development of Russia’s relations with the African states?
Artyom Kozhin: The Russian Federation is successfully implementing programmes of cultural and humanitarian cooperation with various African countries, which include contacts in education, science, culture, art, the media and sport. These efforts are aimed not only at consolidating cooperation with the African countries but also at resolving key African problems such as overcoming social inequality and the involvement of young Africans in sustainable economic development, to name a few.
Education is a major priority in our relations with Africa. Russian universities are open to African students. Apart from the main subjects they have programmes oriented towards key areas of the region’s public and economic life.
The importance of specialised knowledge is growing in conditions of globalisation and increasing use of information technology. Modern education projects are being created and will be carried out in this context. African specialists educated in Russia will help their countries use the advantages of high technology and enter a new stage of scientific and technological progress.
This area fully conforms to the goals and tasks of Russian foreign policy.
In practical terms, more than 1,800 people from 50 African states were admitted to Russian universities in 2017. In all, about 15,000 Africans study in Russia at present, including about 4,000 whose education is funded by Russia. Other Africans study on a contract basis.
During his tour of African countries, Mr Lavrov held talks with Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat. Following the talks, the officials published a joint statement in which they described education, science and technology as priorities in further cooperation. In this context, Russia and Africa plan to develop partnerships between Pan African University and Russian universities, including the implementation of scholarship programmes with an emphasis on the education of natural sciences and mathematics teachers. Russia reaffirmed its interest in developing the current practice of organising the practical training of African diplomats at the Diplomatic Academy of the Foreign Ministry.