Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s video address to the participants in the international inter-party conference Russia-Africa: Reviving Traditions, Moscow, March 25, 2021
Ladies and gentlemen,
Colleagues and friends,
I am glad to welcome the participants in the Russia-Africa: Reviving Traditions international inter-party conference.
Russia and African nations are linked by traditional friendly relations that were established during the Africans’ struggle for their independence. Since that time, through concerted efforts, we have managed to achieve impressive results in a wide range of areas. Our unity primarily rests on an understanding of the importance of collective action based on the principles of equality and mutual respect and aimed at resolving common tasks.
In the past few years, Russia-Africa cooperation has been noticeably stepped up. We are deepening our political dialogue, developing inter-parliamentary ties, promoting cooperation between ministries and departments and expanding scientific and humanitarian exchanges. We are also continuing the structural diversification of our trade.
Despite a certain reduction in trade due to the epidemiological restrictions, more and more domestic operators are trying to enter African markets. Over 27,000 African students study in Russian universities.
The high level of mutual trust allowed us to conduct the first Russia-Africa summit in October 2019. It gave a powerful impetus to the development of versatile Russia-Africa cooperation. At present, we are implementing the agreements reached at top level.
Our friendship is definitely of the all-weather type. Thus, last spring Russia started helping African countries counter the spread of the coronavirus infection. We supplied them with medical preparations and personal protective equipment and sent our doctors and other specialists there. Russian private companies working in Africa actively joined these efforts.
At present, our cooperation is entering a new level. We are actively discussing the registration of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine in African countries and its supplies both on a bilateral basis and as part of cooperation with the African Union.
The second Russia-Africa summit is scheduled for 2022. It is already being prepared and filled with meaningful content. Thus, the Secretariat of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum has already started working at the Russian Foreign Ministry. The coordination, public and scientific councils have been established under its aegis. The Association for Economic Cooperation with African Countries has been created. It unites large Russian companies operating in African markets. Experts plan to draft roadmaps of Russia-Africa economic, scientific and humanitarian cooperation.
It is becoming a tradition that Russia-Africa summits are preceded by events in different fields of cooperation. The Russia-Africa public forums held at the end of the past year helped strengthen our academic, cultural and youth links. African issues are supposed to be included in the St Petersburg International Economic Forum scheduled for next June. A regular meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia and the African Union trio is planned for next year as well.
I am confident that your conference will make a tangible contribution to promoting understanding between our countries and peoples. I hope its results will make it possible to step up inter-party cooperation and enrich the agenda of the forthcoming summit.
In conclusion, I would like to wish you all good health, successful work and all the best.
Thank you for your attention.