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Free trade zone being developed in Africa — African Union Chairperson

"I believe this is a good model, it will help us progress and develop," Azali Assoumani stressed

ST. PETERSBURG, July 28. /TASS/. A free trade zone is being developed in Africa, which will aid in the growth of the continent, Chairperson of the African Union and President of the Union of the Comoros Azali Assoumani told reporters.

"I would like to thank Russia. You are always there for us. We are establishing a free trade zone in Africa," he said, adding "I believe this is a good model, it will also help us progress and develop."

Assoumani added that African countries received confirmation that Russia can supply grain for free. "We talked about grain and its supplies. The President of Russia [Vladimir Putin] told us that he was willing to help us even for free, and there are initiatives to find ways out of the current situation <...> The Russian President showed that he is willing to help us in terms of grain supplies," he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier on Friday that despite export limitations, Moscow is increasing its supplies of agricultural products to African countries. "We recognize the importance of an uninterrupted supply of food for socioeconomic development and the political stability of African states, we are increasing agricultural product supply to Africa. Thus, 11.5 mln tons of grain were transported to African countries in 2022, and around 10 mln tons were sent in the first six months of this year," he said.

The second Russia-Africa Summit is held at St. Petersburg’s Expoforum on July 27-28, in parallel with economic and humanitarian forums. Similar to the first such summit in 2019, the event is being held under the rubric "For Peace, Security and Development." The event is being organized by the Roscongress Foundation. TASS is the event’s official information partner and photo-hosting agency.