Russia broadening economic ties with Asian and African countries

With the worsening relations with the United States and Western European countries, Russia is seen broadening it’s economic and trade ties with Asian and African countries.

Sergei Dankvert, the Head of Russia’s Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Control in Moscow, said Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Iran, Uruguay, Chile, Vietnam, Egypt, Tunis, Serbia and Morocco were among countries that had increased deliveries of their products during the effective period of sanctions against Russia.

Over the past few years, Russian authorities have been looking for potential agricultural products exporters in Latin American, Asian and African regions.

As gathered over the past few months, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco have shown their preparedness to cooperate and are still looking at the possibility to boost exports of agricultural products especially fruits and vegetables to Russian food market to help fill in the gap after President Vladimir Putin slapped sanctions that severely limit food imports from foreign countries.

South Africa has been a promising partner in Southern African region while Morocco is one of the leading trade partners of Russia in North Africa.

Morocco has already exported some of its agricultural items especially fruits and vegetables to the burgeoning market.

Philip Mundia Githiora, the Minister Counsellor at the Kenyan Embassy in Moscow, pointed out explicitly in an interview that Russia offered a large market for Kenyan agricultural products and that Kenya already exports some agricultural products including cut-flowers, tea and coffee to the Russian Federation.

Nyaniso Isaac Miti, Minister Counsellor in charge of Agricultural Affairs at the South Africa Embassy in Moscow, also stressed that South Africa’s agricultural export basket too is dominated by citrus fruit, grapes and apples, and Russia has stated its readiness to increase the purchase of these products.

The Russian Federation has offered customs preferential depending of the volumes the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) can meet.

The only challenge thus far is the exportation of meat and fish products from South Africa to Russia, the Minister Counsellor in charge of Agricultural Affairs explained.

Elena Nagornaya, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Kenny Group of Companies and Africa Trade Alliance (ATA) said exporters from Europe, America and Asia had long appreciated the Russian market.

“There are a number of Africa countries, especially those in northern, eastern and southern Africa that are present in Russia.

“Amid the embargo, the question of considering a wide-range of imported agricultural products from some African countries is becoming a reality. Now, it is a unique opportunity for raising the agricultural supplies to Russia from Africa,” she pointed out.

Kester Kenn Klomegah

Kester Kenn Klomegah is an independent researcher and writer on African affairs in the EurAsian region and former Soviet republics. He wrote previously for African Press Agency, African Executive and Inter Press Service. Earlier, he had worked for The Moscow Times, a reputable English newspaper. Klomegah taught part-time at the Moscow Institute of Modern Journalism. He studied international journalism and mass communication, and later spent a year at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. He co-authored a book “AIDS/HIV and Men: Taking Risk or Taking Responsibility” published by the London-based Panos Institute. In 2004 and again in 2009, he won the Golden Word Prize for a series of analytical articles on Russia's economic cooperation with African countries.

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