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July 17, 2023

Second Russia-African summit: Expectations, impact on Nigerian economy

Second Russia-African summit: Expectations, impact on Nigerian economy

By OPEYEMI APATIRA 

The first Russia – Africa Summit, which took place in October 2019 in Sochi, Russia,  hosted over 40 African presidents with the attendance of the then Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari and his team in attendance. The summit was aimed at strengthening economic ties between Russia and African countries. 

The effect of the event was immediately felt in the Nigerian environment as it quickly acted on some of the areas it focused on strengthening, such as trade and investment, energy cooperation, infrastructure development, technological cooperation and military cooperation. 

It is interesting to note that from the time of the last summit up until now, the Nigerian government has hosted several delegates from the Russian Business community, taken part in many exhibitions and is currently experiencing a robust and healthy relationship with the Russian Federation and mostly in the areas of trade and investment. Like most of the other partner nations, Nigeria has seen a rise in trade volume between both nations.

During the last 25 years the exports of Nigeria to Russia have increased at an annual rate of 6.36%, from $8.3M in 1996 to $38.8M in 2021. In 2021, Russia exported product to the tune of over $1 billion to Nigeria. The main products exported from Russia to Nigeria were Refined Petroleum products in the tune of over 500 million dollars, Wheat about $500 million, and Fertilizers over $70 million.

Key players in the African economy, including Nigeria, have also stepped up their games in the energy sector in partnership with the Russian Federation with several nuclear plants and energy projects being constructed, even as ROSATOM(Russia’s state owned energy company) has chosen to educate several African students on energy programmes for free. Other African countries have also recently benefited from Russia’s military assistance and cooperation, while not leaving different areas of the economy unturned.

The second Russia-Africa Summit has been slated for the 27th – 28th of July which will be taking place in the former Capital City of the Russian Federation – St. Petersburg, and its main essence is to strengthen the first. The summit would serve as a platform for Russian and African leaders to engage in dialogue, discuss bilateral and multilateral issues, and explore opportunities for cooperation. It could cover a wide range of topics, including trade, investment, infrastructure development, energy, security, healthcare, and education.

The global impact of this summit would depend on the outcomes and agreements reached during the event. Here are a few potential global impacts that could arise from a second Russia Africa Summit:

1. Strengthened diplomatic ties: The summit would provide an opportunity for Russia to deepen its diplomatic relationships with African countries. It could result in the signing of more joint agreements and memoranda of understanding, enhancing a stronger political cooperation between Russia and African Nations. Diplomatic ties between African countries and Russia have existed for many years, with historical connections dating back to the era of the Soviet Union. Since the end of the Cold War, Russia has continued to strengthen its relationships with African nations through various diplomatic initiatives. The BRICS alliance has recently received a wave of interest from several African Nations, including Nigeria.  

2. Increased trade and investment: Discussions during the summit could focus on expanding trade and investment between Russia and African nations. This could lead to the establishment of new business partnerships, trade agreements, and investment projects. Enhanced economic ties could have a positive impact on global trade flows.

3. Infrastructure development: Infrastructure is a key area where African countries seek foreign investment. If Russia pledges support for infrastructure development projects in Africa, it could help boost economic growth and improve connectivity within the continent. This, in turn, could have spill over effects on global trade and regional integration.

4. Energy cooperation: Russia is a major player in the global energy market, particularly in oil and gas. Enhanced energy cooperation between Russia and African nations could result in increased energy exports from Africa, contributing to global energy security and diversification, which will definitely contribute to the growth of the continent’s economy, having Russia as a reliable partner.

5. Geopolitical implications: The increased engagement of Russia in Africa could have geopolitical implications. It may be perceived as a counterbalance to the influence of other global powers in the region, such as China, the United States, and the European Union. This could potentially lead to a more multipolar world order and impact global power dynamics.

6. Education: Till today the Russian Federation is one of the biggest provider of educational services to the African continent at larger, by keeping up with its culture of giving free education through the Russian government scholarship programmes, that had been in existence since the days of the soviet union. This year alone, the Russian ministry of Education has announced it will be given 15,000 free scholarship spaces to students from all continents of the world. It is worth specifying that since the last summit, several programmes have been implemented towards improving on the bilateral agreements with nations and it is certain that the second summit will address the strategies to strengthen them.

It is important to note that the actual impact of a second Russia Africa Summit would depend on the commitments made and actions taken by participating countries following the event. The outcomes could contribute to shaping Russia’s relationship with Africa and have broader implications on global political and economic dynamics.

Apatira is Leader of the Legislative House. Ojodu LCDA Lagos