Distinguished Guests, Your Excellencies,
It is my pleasure to welcome you here. Thank you very much for joining us today. This year, taking advantage of the upcoming Second Russia-Africa Summit to be held in St. Petersburg, we decided to celebrate the Africa Day at our Mission for the first time. So, once again, please accept our warmest congratulations on this Day, a perfect opportunity to celebrate the bright future and the huge potential of the African continent – the cradle of civilisation and a Homeland of a great number of amazing and talented people who have contributed to the development of the world in all areas, including science, culture, philosophy and the arts.
The Russian Federation has a long history of relations with all African states and sub-regional organisations. These ties go far beyond politics and economy, because they imply true friendship, mutual respect and sincere understanding of diversity, interests, needs, history and culture of each other.
On 31 March a new Concept of Foreign Policy of Russia was adopted. It outlines Russia’s vision towards other states and international organisations. One of the key messages is that Russia does not consider itself to be an enemy of the West, is not isolating itself from the West and has no hostile intentions with regard to it; Russia hopes that in the future the states belonging to the Western community will realise that their policy of confrontation and hegemonic ambitions lacks prospects. They will take into account the complex realities of a multipolar world and will resume a pragmatic cooperation with Russia, guided by the principles of sovereign equality and respect for each other's interests. The Russian Federation is ready for dialogue and cooperation on such a basis.
We recognise that the current world development model, unbalanced in its nature, has ensured the advanced economic growth of colonial powers for centuries. It was enabled by appropriation of resources of dependent territories and states in Asia and Africa. This model is irrevocably fading into the past. Recently the sovereignty and competitive advantages of non-Western world powers and regional leading countries have been strengthened.
Unfortunately, the fight for a just system of international relations is far from being over. Many politicians in the West still think and act in terms of neo-colonialism, not to mention their unacceptable public references to the garden and the jungle. And, of course, the genuine friendship between Russia and Africa is a source of great concern for such politicians.
We are convinced that Africa will become a leader of the emerging multipolar world order, and there is every objective reason to believe that. Russia and Africa enjoy multifaceted and mutually beneficial cooperation that serves the interests of our peoples. We share the tradition of joint struggle for decolonisation and independence of African states. I would like to mention that, paying due tribute to the history of the African fight against the colonial system, Russia has taken a decision to return the historic name of Patrice Lumumba to the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia. Russia and African countries are standing together against neo-colonial ideology imposed by Western states.
Russia and African states are committed to the fundamental principles and purposes of the UN Charter. One of our common goals, as outlined in the final Declaration of the First Russia-Africa Summit, is to strengthen global governance and consider reforming the UN Security Council taking into account the geopolitical realities with a view to making it a more representative body by ensuring greater participation of African states.
Speaking of the UN, I would like to recall that this organisation was established thanks to the immense contribution of our country to defeat the Nazi Germany, with support of the allies. On 9 May we celebrated 78 years of the Great Victory, which laid the foundation of the world where the UN could play a central and coordinating role and where the UN Charter is a cornerstone.
However today we are witnessing a challenging situation. The UN-centred system is in the state of crisis provoked by attempts of certain UN members to replace the international law with what they call a rules-based world order. Such rules have never been negotiated, nor have they been formulated or adopted. They are being invented and unilaterally modified only to constrain new independent centres of development which constitute an indispensable part of multilateralism.
The West uses its rules whenever it needs to justify its illegitimate actions against those who act in accordance with the international law and refuse to serve the interests of the so-called “golden billion”. Anyone who opposes Western domination is automatically blacklisted, sanctioned or cancelled.
Having embarked on a course of isolating Russia in the international arena, the EU, as is now clear to everyone, has completely failed to calculate the consequences of such a policy for itself. The EU, not yet a global actor in foreign policy, somehow assumed that all the countries of the world would blithely follow its proclaimed "crusade against Russia". After a series of pseudo-successes, the EU was a bit confused, but now it seems to be starting a second round with renewed vigour, this time not shying away from outright blackmail, bribery and other similar pressure tactics, which should not in principle be present in diplomacy.
Against this background, we believe that the Second Russia-Africa Summit is crucial – and not only in terms of further deepening our relations. Definitely, this format has great potential to contribute to a better situation in the international arena in general, as well as to address real issues and needs related to people’s well-being.
For Russia, African states have always remained important and reliable partners. The First Russian-African Summit held in October 2019 in Sochi was very productive and noticeably invigorated our ties with African states, gave a boost to business interaction and cultural and humanitarian exchanges. The partnership between Russia and African countries has gained additional momentum.
Large-scale Russian investment projects are being implemented in Africa, involving companies such as Rosneft, Gazpromneft, RusHydro, ALROSA, Lukoil and many others. Russia will continue to help African countries produce electricity, which still unfortunately only covers a quarter of the continent's needs. We perfectly understand how vital it is to solve this issue.
Today we are offering new environmentally friendly technologies, primarily in nuclear energy. Rosatom is already building a nuclear power plant in Egypt and plans to expand its involvement in the development of the national energy systems of the African continent.
Russia reliably fulfils all its obligations to supply food, fertilisers, fuel and other products that are crucial for African countries. As the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin has said on several occasions, Russia is ready to supply some of the goods, including fertilisers, currently frozen in European ports to countries that need them. We are ready to do it free of charge. The first batches have already been sent, but unfortunately there still remain obstacles caused by the EU and the West in general.
Cooperation between Russia and African countries in the field of education is at a traditionally high level. Today some 27,000 African students are studying in Russia, including 5,000 whose education costs are covered by the federal budget. At the same time, the annual quota for state-funded scholarships at Russian universities will be more than doubled. The Russian-African Network University project has entered its practical stage.
We intend to step up cooperation on such important topics for Africa as medicine and healthcare, as well as ensuring biological and epidemiological safety. In order to do this, Russia is ready to transfer fully equipped mobile labs and modern medicines to Africans, and to train specialists.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Russia was among the first countries to provide African states with large volumes of vaccines, test kits, personal protective equipment, and other medical and humanitarian cargoes. And, of course, Russia always lends a helping hand to African countries in relieving the devastating consequences of natural disasters: floods, fires, hurricanes and droughts.
Military and defence industry cooperation continues, including the supply of Russian weapons and military equipment to African partners, and the training of relevant personnel. Currently, military personnel from over 20 African countries are studying at the institutes of the Russian Ministry of Defence.
Russian-African cooperation in the field of high technologies is also being strengthened. For example, Russia is helping to create the ANGOSAT satellite communication and television broadcasting system in Angola. Yandex, a Russian IT company, is actively introducing information services to organise the transportation of passengers by taxi and other modes of transport in African countries. Russia is always ready to share its technologies with African countries, offering opportunities for diverse technological development.
The Second Russia-Africa Summit, to be held in St. Petersburg on 26-29 July, will allow new goals to be set for expanding cooperation between the Russian Federation and its African partners in a wide range of areas, including addressing topical issues on the regional and international agenda. A busy and substantive schedule is being prepared for the Summit, as well as the Economic and Humanitarian Fora to be held on the same dates. In total, we plan to organise more than a hundred events ahead of and during the Summit.
Our country is determined to continue building a full strategic partnership with our African friends, and we are ready to shape the global agenda together.
Thank you for your attention.