By Kester Kenn Klomegah
Kester Kenn Klomegah evaluates the Russian Federation’s relationship with Africa
“On the one hand, it’s necessary to join efforts on working with Africa and developing the continent. On the other hand, it is also necessary to diversify economic and geopolitical presence on the continent so as to avoid monopolies and possession attempts.” – Nataliya Zaiser, Public Policy Advisor at Squire Patton Boggs Moscow and Head of the Africa Business Initiative
As already well-known since Soviet days, Russia has pursued a pragmatic policy aimed at enhancing multidimensional ties with the countries of the continent on a bilateral and multilateral basis. Experts in separate interviews say that while building mutually beneficial cooperation remains one of the main priorities of Russia, its economic cooperation with Africa has hit stumbling blocks, for example, trade turnover with the countries of sub-Saharan Africa for the period from January to December 2015 was estimated at US$ 3.3 billion.
Nataliya Zaiser, who is a Public Policy Advisor at Squire Patton Boggs Moscow office covering Russia, the Eurasian Union and Africa, and also the Head of the Africa Business Initiative (ABI), has acknowledged in an interview that over the past few years, Russia’s efforts have achieved little success because “times have changed significantly. For example, new economic and political environment, new challenges, new competitive conditions, new bases for cooperation.”