Tracking the second Russia-Africa Summit

On June 23, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held diplomatic talks with Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE), Demeke Mekonnen, who arrived on an official working visit to the Russian Federation, after wrapping up an earlier visit to United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Ahead of his arrival, the Russian Foreign Ministry in a brief media statement highlighted the significance of the planned talks and particularly noted the deep satisfaction about the ongoing development of the Russian-Ethiopian political dialogue, and the constructive interaction within the United Nations and other international organizations.

The statement further identified key areas of Russian-Ethiopian cooperation, including the promotion of promising mutually beneficial projects in the fields of energy, infrastructure and agriculture. It further added that necessary steps would be taken to strengthen the bilateral legal framework.

During the first Russia-Africa summit held in October 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiye Ahmed. They discussed the bilateral agenda, planned to have many promising projects designed to expand the volume of trade and economic cooperation.

“Dear Mr. Minister, Glad to see you in Moscow. We appreciate our regular political dialogue at the highest and highest level. We remember the fundamental agreements reached in October 2019 in Sochi as part of the Russia-Africa summit,” Sergey Lavrov said in his opening remarks while welcoming Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Demeke Mekonnen.

Lavrov said: “We are very interested in the continuation of our mutually beneficial interaction and put forward joint initiatives. Of course, it is very important to hear your assessments of the situation on the African continent and the activities of the African Union, whose headquarters is located in Addis Ababa. I know that you are interested, actively participating in the preparation of the second Russia-Africa summit in 2022.”

Russian officials have turned their focus, intensifying consultations with the African Union and Foreign Ministries of African countries, on preparation for the second Russia-Africa summit scheduled for 2022. Apparently, a number of African Foreign Ministers have visited Moscow over the past two to three months, and more yet to come, and that intended to keep the bilateral political dialogue and to make preliminary review of policy achievements after the historic meeting in Sochi.

On the other hand, Ethiopia has expressed absolute readiness to host the summit. That was the outcome of the discussion held on April 22 between Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, Demeke Mekonnen, and Ambassador-at-Large, and Head of the Secretariat of Russia-Africa Partnership Forum (RAPF), Oleg Ozerov, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Significant to recall here that the first summit, indeed opened a new chapter, and concluded with the adoption of a joint declaration. According to official documents, 92 agreements and contracts, and memoranda of understanding were signed during the economic forum held as part of the summit, co-chaired President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian leader, Abdelfattah Al-Sisi.

Despite the existing challenges, Moscow primarily plans to boost Russia’s presence in Africa. The first is to hold top-level summits, once every three years, alternately in Russia and in Africa. Still from the Black Sea city Sochi, with the joint declaration, which is a comprehensive well-structured long-term policy document, the two sides have resolved to move from mere intentions to concrete actions, have explicitly set goals and tasks for further development of multifaceted relations between Russia and Africa.

Kester Kenn Klomegah
Kester Kenn Klomegah
MD Africa Editor 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.