A number of key elements in areas of collaboration, including digital innovation, space science, as well as strengthening people-to-people exchange will form part of the subjects to be discussed at the second Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg.
The summit, which aims to foster mutually beneficial cooperation and partnerships between Russia and the African continent, was first convened in October 2019, with a commitment to continue meeting every three years.
Speaking in an interview in St. Petersburg, Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, said that a wide spectrum of areas of partnership are a rationale for South Africa’s presence at the summit.
The Minister reflected that through the first summit held in Sochi, Russia, an agreement was reached to continue to have contact between African countries, the African Union and the Russian Federation to cement and strengthen relations between the continent and Russia.
“There are a range of aspects that will form part of our deliberations here. There are a number of areas of collaboration that we have agreed particularly in the areas of digital innovation, collaboration in space science, as well as strengthening people to people exchange.
“We’ve also added a much stronger focus on matters of trade. All of these will be part of the subjects that we will discuss during this second summit,” Pandor said.
The Minister emphasised that it was important to mention that for the first time, it is not just Heads of State attending the summit, but there are also a number of enterprises from various African countries as well as the Continental Development Finance institutions present.
“Interestingly, we also have the brand new president of the New Development Bank or the BRICS Bank, as it is sometimes called. This will be President Dilma Rousseff’s first detailed interaction with African leaders, particularly the BRICS leaders. This (meeting comes ahead of the) BRICS summit that will occur in Johannesburg in South Africa, next month,” Pandor said.
The summit comes a month after seven African Heads of State embarked on a peace initiative mission to Ukraine and Russia concerning the war in Ukraine.
The Minister said she believes the African Heads of State will use their time in St Petersburg to continue the discussions they began earlier this year in seeking a peaceful outcome in the war between Russia and Ukraine.
“The seven Presidents from the African continent are part of an Africa led peace initiative that seeks to encourage the beginning of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine in order to end the conflict between the two countries, to start a process of returning the world to a context in which we have peace and stability.
“And thus allow for economic growth and development which are urgently necessary for many countries in the world, but most particularly for us in the developing world,” the Minister said.