by khawla klahchi Researcher in political science and political communication
This is an affirmation of Russia’s involvement in the current system of interactions with African countries, which coincide with the continuation of the Russian-Ukrainian war, and its multidimensional repercussions on all the countries of the world, including the African continent, foremost among which is the issue of food security.
Russian-African relations have long historical roots; Though Russia’s post-Cold War relations with Africa at the early 1990’s were affected by the Soviet Union’s disintegration, a legacy of previous ties persisted.
The previous historical background constitutes an important introduction to the interpretation of the dimensions of the recent African round of Russian Foreign Minister “Sergei Lavrov”, which comes within the framework of multiple and intertwining contexts at the international level, perhaps the most important of which is:
The importance of Africa in the interactions related to the Ukrainian war: The war was accompanied by Western sanctions against Russia, which were primarily aimed at exerting more pressure to impose international isolation on it and weakening its overall capabilities in the face of Ukraine; Russia is therefore trying to break this isolation by strengthening its network of foreign relations and interactions with African countries to build important strategic alliances.
Russian-Ukrainian cereal Agreement and its implications for African Food Security: This agreement provides for ending the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports and allowing the exportation of millions of tons of grain that was imposed on them, an agreement that was welcomed by the African Union due to its positive effects on food security in the continent that was recently aggravated by the negative consequences accompanying war.
Major preparations for the second Russian-African summit: The summit to be held in the Ethiopian capital “Addis Ababa” next October; Russia is trying to establish itself as an ally of Ethiopia in the post-civil war future that began in November 2020.
Western attempts to gain African favor
|France||United States of America|
|French President Emmanuel Macron’s African tour to Dole (Cameroon, Benin, Guinea-Bissau) This took place during the period 25-28 July 2022.||The official visits of the United States special envoy Mike Hammer to Egypt and Ethiopia in addition to the United Arab Emirates 24 July-1 August 2022.|
|This is the first visit by the French president to these countries since 2017, which aims at reviving the French presence in the traditional areas of influence in Africa after it has been greatly reduced recently.||The main objectives of the program are to bring closer views on the issue of blocking the renaissance, review the progress made on the provision of humanitarian assistance and accountability for human rights violations and abuses.|
Russian attempts to gain African favor
|Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s last African tour, July 2022.|
|Making use of the African voting bloc in international forums: As Moscow seeks to benefit from the high relative weight in the voting bloc of African countries within the framework of international institutions, Russia is betting on gaining political support for African countries on what it offers them on many levels, especially on the military and economic levels. This is sometimes an appropriate alternative to Western interests. Strengthening military relations with African States: Russia is currently the major arms supplier to Africa; Africa accounted for about 14% of Russian arms exports between 2021 and 2017. Strengthening of joint Russian-African economic relations: The economic dimension is the top priority of relations between the two parties recently due to the huge negative effects on African economies due to the Russian-Ukrainian war, which means that the African supplies of these foodstuffs have been greatly affected. This aspect was one of the main motivating considerations for Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov’s African tour, to emphasize Russian efforts and actions to alleviate the impact of the war on Africa’s food security.|
Arrangement of Russian arms exports
|Russian arms exports|
|Egypt and Algeria, along with India and China, were the most important recipients of Russian weapons; This comes about 73% of the total Russian weapons exports Asia and Oceania have received about 61% of Russia’s arms exports The Middle East region received 20% during the same period|
Mention can also be made of the existence of Russian military training with several African States, the most important of which is Algeria; In addition, Russia signed military agreements with more than 20 African countries since 2015, and its cooperation ranges from fighting terrorism and peacekeeping to weapons sales.
Russia depends on using the private security companies to reinforce its influence through offering support to the African countries in several fields, the most prominent of which is fighting terrorism, and the “Wagner” group is considered one of the tools on which Moscow depends in achieving its national interests in Africa in the last years.
Russian cereal production
|African countries’ dependence on Russian production ||Russian production|
|About 18 million people face severe hunger in the Sahel region And about 13 million people in the Horn of Africa as a result of the persistent drought||It accounts for about 16% of wheat production And 13% of the world’s fertilizer production|
Expansion of Russian investment in African natural resources: Russia is working with African countries to extract the main natural resources to enhance its economic capabilities, especially in light of the American and Chinese competition on these resources, such as the lithium that many African countries possess, and Russia is expanding its investments in Africa through the Rosatom company “.”
In conclusion, it can be said that the future vision of Russian-African relations offers a growing and intensified interaction on various levels, especially military and economic ones. On the other hand, Russia seeks to build strategic alliances with the African countries to enhance their international status within the framework of the new international system that tends to be multipolar and the return of the radiance of the black continent.