African states still suffer from displays of colonialism - in economy, in particular, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during the plenary meeting of the Russia-Africa Summit. Meanwhile, Russia makes efforts to ease the debt burden of African nations.
The African leaders spoke about the importance of cooperation in security, food security included, while Russia shared its plans to increase its democratic presence on the continent.
Here are the key events and statements of the Summit.
Moscow writes off debts
Russia will allocate more than $90 mln for lowering the debt burden of African countries, with their indebtedness written off by Moscow totaling $23 bln.
According to Russian Ambassador at Large, head of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum Secretariat Oleg Ozerov, African countries’ debt issues before Russia have currently been settled by 90%.
"There are some financial issues, but we are not talking about the direct debt. We are talking about certain financial agreements and obligations of sides," he noted.
The West seeks to maintain its "dominant position in Africa, prevents reforms and exerts pressure, using the financial debt, which destroys the economy and increases poverty," Libyan Presidential Council Chairman Mohamed al-Menfi said.
Africa’s allies, including Russia, India and China could buy finished products from Africa instead of raw materials, resident of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni said.
Using coffee as an example, Museveni pointed out that added value for finished goods is being produced beyond African territory.
"This is a problem that slowed down Africa’s growth," he stated.
Putin pointed out that some displays of colonialism have not been eliminated to this day and are "still being practice by metropoles - in particular, in economy, informational and humanitarian areas."
Cooperation on security
The summit participants agreed that a new permanent Russian-African security mechanism will be established. The new structure will work on combating terrorism and extremism, ensuring food security and non-deployment of weapons in space.
Noting that the development of the African Continent is being hampered by the spread of extremist ideology, trans-national crime and piracy, the Russian leader pointed out that Russia offers aid in countering all mentioned threats. In particular, Russia will continue training African servicemen and law enforcement officers in its education facilities. In addition, Moscow supplies a "wide array of weapons and vehicles" to African nations, including for free - "in order to reinforce security and sovereignty of these states."
Central African Republic President Faustin-Archange Touadera underscored that Russia’s support helped saving democracy in his country.
"Fearing no geopolitical problems, Russia provides aid to our country, our armed forces and security agencies in their fight against terrorist organizations," he said.
Mali was able to reinforce its armed forces and ensure its security thanks to Russia’s aid, said Interim President Assimi Goita.
"Mali has military partnership with Russia, and we thank it for support and friendship. […] The Malian Armed Forces Armed are currently on the offensive; we have significantly reduced the number of [terrorist] attacks on [our] military bases, we were able to ensure security in many places," he noted.
Search for peace in Ukraine
A number of African leaders advocated searching for ways to resolve the Ukrainian crisis. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa stated that "negotiations and dialogue, as well as commitment to the UN Charter are necessary for a peaceful and fair resolution of conflicts."
"The African initiative deserves the greatest attention and it should not be underestimated," President of the Republic of Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso said, calling to "end the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
This conflict affected the entire world in a negative way, African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat said.
"Of course, we are concerned over the grain supply issue," he said, adding that it is "necessary to immediately and promptly resolve the problem of food shipments to countries in need."
Putin pointed out that Russia has repeatedly stated its readiness for negotiations, but Moscow cannot force them. He agreed that "all controversies must be resolve at a negotiation table," but added that "negotiations with Russia are being rejected.
"President Putin showed us that he was ready to engage in dialogue and search for a solution, and now we need to persuade the other party. I hope that we will succeed," Azali Assoumani, President of the Comoros, who also chairs the African Union, said.
Via diplomatic channels
"Russia’s attention to Africa keeps growing steadily," Putin stated. According to the president, Moscow will build up its diplomatic presence on the continent, by expanding its network of Russian centers of science and culture, and will help African states to open their embassies and consulates in Russia.
First and foremost, Moscow seeks to reopen embassies in those countries, where embassies were shut down in the 1990s, Ozerov said.
Russia will also work on cancelling visa regime with African states.
"The slogan of Russia’s return to Africa implies our physical, diplomatic, official presence. Therefore we will work on this issue," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa Mikhail Bogdanov told TASS.
Four declarations were adopted, including one on prevention of arms race in space, one on cooperation in informational security and one on strengthening of cooperation in combating terrorism, as well as the action plan of the Russia-Africa Partnership, which will implement the decisions of the summit. In addition, the Russian government signed memorandums of understanding with the African Development Organization and the Economic Community of Central African States.
The sides agreed on a number of new dialogue formats between summits, which will be held once in every three years. In particular, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Chairman of the African Union plan to regularly hold political consultations.
A permanent mechanism is expected to be created at the highest level, which is supposed to help in coordinating combating terrorism and extremism, as well as in solving ecological problems. In addition, a Russia-Africa parliamentary forum will be held annually.