PRETORIA, October 28. /TASS/. The recent Russia-African Summit pointed to a rebalancing of relations between countries, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement on Monday.
"Last week, I led a government delegation to the first Russia-Africa Summit, convened in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi. For two days, heads of state from 43 African countries and their host, President Vladimir Putin, discussed how to increase trade and cooperation between the Russian Federation and Africa," Ramaphosa pointed out.
According to him, "the Summit was a sign of the growing economic importance of Africa on the world stage." "What we are witnessing is a dramatic rebalancing of the relationship between the world’s advanced economies and the African continent. We have consistently affirmed that Africa no longer wants to be passive recipient of foreign aid. African countries are developing and their economies are increasingly in need of foreign direct investment," the statement added.
"It would be wrong, as some have done, to label initiatives like the Russia-Africa Summit as an attempt by world powers to expand their geopolitical influence. Some have even argued that a number of countries in Africa are being led into a debt trap as they take up loans to fund a number of projects in their countries," the South African president noted. "One needs only to look at initiatives such as the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, which was last held in Beijing last year, to see that the focus is now on partnership for mutual benefit, on development, trade and investment cooperation and integration," he noted.
"The message from African leaders at the Russia-Africa summit was clear: Africa needs greater levels of investment. It wants access to markets for its products, goods and services. It wants to forge economic relationships of mutual benefit that develop our respective countries and uplift our people. The age where ‘development’ was imposed from outside without taking into account the material conditions and respective requirements of our countries is now past," Ramaphosa emphasized.
On October 23-24, the resort city of Sochi hosted the first ever Russia-Africa Summit, co-chaired by Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt. All 54 African countries participated in the event, 43 of which were represented by heads of state. Eight major African integration associations and organizations were also involved in the event. The Roscongress Foundation organized the summit, and TASS was its official photo hosting agency.