Neocolonialism should never set foot on the African continent again, Russia’s leading legislator has said at a parliamentary forum ahead of President Vladimir Putin’s first Russia-Africa summit this October.
Russia has expanded its presence in Africa since 2014, with at least 20 military cooperation deals signed since Western nations sanctioned Russia for annexing Crimea. Yevgeny Prigozhin, a secretive businessman known as Putin’s “chef,” is believed to be spearheading Russia’s push to bolster its geopolitical might on the continent with security, arms training and electioneering services in exchange for mining rights and other opportunities.
“We can’t allow the revival of neocolonialism, a predatory attitude toward African resources,” Vyacheslav Volodin, the chairman of Russia’s State Duma, said on the forum’s third and closing day.
“To do this, we need to protect the sovereign right of African states to build their own future,” Volodin told colleagues.
The senior lawmaker played up Russia’s cooperation with Africa, saying trade volume has grown to $20.4 billion last year and around 17,000 African students are enrolled in Russian universities.
“Our task is for this forum to lay the foundations of trust and points of growth that will form the base of our relations tomorrow, give impetus to closer relations between our countries,” he said.
The first Russia-Africa Summit will take place in the city of Sochi, Russia on October 24, 2019. The initiative to hold a high-level meeting to discuss strategic issues of Russia-Africa partnership was taken by President of Russia H.E. Vladimir Putin and welcomed by current Chairman of the African Union, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt H.E. Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
The event aims at strengthening cooperation between the Russian Federation and countries of the African continent