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Russia’s economic cooperation with African nations has been growing steadily in recent years, yet being still modest by the standards of Western countries and China. Meanwhile, the Russia–Africa trade, economic and investment potential remains very high, prompting the Russian Government and businesses to work towards a more favourable political, regulatory, economic and information environment to boost relations with Africa.
The last couple of years have seen a rise in Russia–Africa trade, with aggregate turnover reaching USD 14.5 billion in 2016, up by USD 3.4 billion year-on-year.
While the bilateral potential has not yet been fully tapped, Russia’s economic penetration into the African continent is lagging behind major western counterparties and China, boasting USD 100 billion (the US) and USD 300 billion (China) trade levels.
Russia’s historically strong arms trade with African countries has been growing in recent years, despite tough competition.
Agriculture is another significant contributor to the bilateral trade.
Major Russian businesses see Africa as a promising investment destination and are mostly into energy, mining, agriculture, manufacturing, transport and infrastructure sectors.
Russian businesses are successfully tapping into other African market segments, too.
A more solid institutional foundation is needed to boost Russia’s multilateral cooperation and increase trade turnovers with African nations.