Russia-Africa Economic Conference associated to the 26th Afreximbank Annual Meeting took place in Moscow
June 29, 2019
Prof. Benedict Oramah, Afreximbank CEO. 26th Annual Afreximbank Meeting opening ceremony. Moscow, June, 21
Photo: Andrey Lyubimov, Roscongress
International Economic Conferention «Russia-Africa» under the theme Prospects for Multilateralism in an Era of Protectionism, so far the greatest Russia-Africa event of the last thirty years, ended up in Moscow, June, 22, alongside the 26th Annual Afreximbank Meeting.

Meeting in Moscow is only the second time in history when Afreximbank shareholders gathered outside Africa. Organising of such an event in Russia was made possible in december, 2017, when Russian Export Center purchased Afreximbank's shares and became its third non-african shareholder.
Meeting in Moscow is only the second time in history when Afreximbank shareholders gathered outside Africa
During the opening ceremony of the Economic Conference Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov addressed the audience, saying that Russia and Africa head towards boosting cooperation, especially in security and peacemaking. The African side was presented by the Afreximbank CEO prof. Benedict Oramah, who stated the importance of such business-government meetings.

Russian prime-minister Dmitry Medvedev delivered the speech at the Annual Meetings opening ceremony. He noted the importance of strategic partnership between Russia and Africa which «control together half of the world's resources base». According to prime-minister, «economic case is not enough [for cooperation], important is the sincere desire». In addition, it's important to «know each other better and be more opened». He also noted the success stories of Rosoboroexport, Rosatom, VEB, REC and some other Russian companies. D. Medvedev appreciated the African countries distance from the anti-Russian policies.
D. Medvedev appreciated the African countries distance from the anti-Russian policies
Panel discussion chaired by H.Ex. Olusegun Obasanjo, general, writer, entrepreneur and President of Nigeria in 1976-1979 and 1999-2007, one of the most distinguished African politicians of our time, took place June, 20. Obasanjo pointed to the key-role of the Soviet Union in Africa's struggle for independence: «A country needs knowledge and history to prosper. If we forget our history, we won't be able to use our knowledge». O. Obasanjo also commented the AfCFTA agreement, which Nigeria has not signed yet. Among the reasons he mentions risks for domestic market and lack of awareness among the Nigerians: «The government did not arranged the consultations needed, did not explain the AfCFTA goals and the benefits it can bring to the Nigerians». He thinks, however, that Nigeria «has no choice but to sign [the agreement]».

Answering the RA Vision question about the third parties' role in Russia-Nigeria trade, Olusegun Obasanjo noted the growing number of Russian business in Nigeria. According to him, the rapid increase in the 2-way trade between Russia and Nigeria (+78% in 2018) with a relatively small amount of Russian companies working in Nigeria is due to the fact that a great number of them find local partners in order to protect their investments and ensure entreprise reliability. The other experts told RA Vision that the 2-way trade increase is now more due to the growth of stock markets through the global traders than to the Russian producers work in Nigeria.
The 2-way trade increase is now more due to the growth of stock markets through the global traders than to the Russian producers work in Nigeria
During the Economic Conference the participants have also discussed the south-south trade, paths for Africa integration into the global economy, cyber solutions and cyber security for solving governmental and municipals tasks, trade financing, railroads for Africa, governmental and corporate social responsibility, food safety, etc.

The Conference was attended by the RA Vision, Afreximbank and African Union representatives, other regional associations, Russian and African business and government entities.

During the Conference the upcoming Russia-Africa Summit was repeatedly mentioned. According to prime-minister Medvedev, «most of the African leaders» have already confirmed their participation. Both Summit's and preceding Economic Forum agenda has not been yet revealed.