Russia-Africa Summit Dialogic Themes – Developing New Ties

Russia-Africa Summit, July 27-29

In the Age of Autocracy, third world countries face stark choices after the postponement of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. While China has alleviated its poverty or has devised innovative ways upon which to expand its agriculture, the grain dependent nations of Africa are queuing up to offer deals with Russia in exchange for grain shipments, promises of security, and progress toward development. At least 48 national delegations and 27 African heads of state flocked to Russia for the 2nd Russia-Africa Summit held July 27-28th.

The Second summit was much grander in scale than Sochi 2019. According to the Russia-Africa Summit brochure, historic St. Petersburg virtually outdid itself in hosting a week-long Seasons Festival of Culture overlapping the Summit, and the Economic and Humanitarian Forum. The festival allows both residents and guests to experience some of the highlights of beneficial multipolar exchanges while augmenting the intercultural dialogue. Obviously a lot of advanced planning and effort went into the premium art, media, dance, music, sports, and youth programs. The grand finale was the July 30th Navy Day flotilla and military parade, with active ships and submarines, and sailors standing in salute to the dignatories. [1]

The Russia-Africa Summit 2023, with themes of Peace, Security, and Development, the very model of a genuine round table, allowed everyone an equal opportunity to voice their concerns. Not only were they able to share their historical suffering and current concerns, but bring to bear their business proposals for follow-up humanitarian and economic trade agreements.

President Putin and his team were willing to listen, validate, offer support, and mutual cooperation—exactly what Africa hopes from its powerful northern neighbor in forming alternative intergovernmental organizations for strengthening trade and economic ties. Putin’s vision for Africa included an emphasis in the common fight against oppression by Western capitalist state actors going back through the last century. Meanwhile grain and fertilizer is promised in exchange for development of industrial plants for finished products such as coffee; and Russia can continue to broaden its north-south shipping to African ports, and establish secure networks to improve all the logistics in trade. President Putin stated [2]:

“Russia and Africa are key partners of the New World Order. We keep up with long-standing traditions of friendship. Russia and Africa join together in the face of new global challenges. Today Russia and Africa are new pools of emerging Multiple World Order. And they help each other; they go in a path of becoming strong, prosperous, and safe regions. Bilateral economic cooperation is gaining momentum. Today thanks to Russian companies on the African continent, large-scale technological projects have been implemented [shows tractor]”

As President Yowari Museveni, the longest serving president of Uganda, recounts, Africa has long suffered under the glove of multinational oligarchs and autocratic presidents and military rule. This is why Africa is gathering under the euphemism of a united Africa under which, ideally, there shall be no more exploitative interests nor slavery nor even human misery. The reasoning is analogous to that of the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States, which is to set itself free from the yoke of white oppression. [3]

“We take this opportunity to thank the Soviet peoples and other socialist countries for that support; however, full independence did not in the majority of cases in Africa mean healthy disengagement with imperialist economies. Up till now, men of the African economies still face the bottlenecks and distortions of the colonial era. Although some progress has been achieved, a lot remains to be done.”

Nevertheless there was great expression of gratitude from all the delegations, especially the six nations that will receive 25-50,000 tons of grain free of charge including free shipment: Somalia, Eritrea, Congo-Brazzaville, Zimbabwe, Mali, Burkino Faso. In any event Russia promises to increase its direct grain shipments to Africa, bypassing the impediments of the Black Sea Ukrainian ports and EU trade sanctions. Last year only 11.5 million tons arrived, but this year so far 10 million tons have shipped despite the obstructions. Russia has also participated in debt relief amounting to 23 billion U.S. dollars worth for African countries, and plans to provide another 90 million U.S. dollars worth for development projects.

In fact, almost every country at the round table reminded the Russian hosts of the significance of addressing the growing population [3]:

“Plus the time frame for implementing this project—once we have this document ready, the contribution from each and every partner on the Continent level, on the part of the Russian Federation, plus other global partners, who will join our effort to change the reality in Africa, because the coming generation, after 25 years, will have a population of 2.4 or 2.5 billion within the continent, and their issues will have to be addressed, but an earlier phase rather than later on…” —President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea

The call for the world to accommodate Africa’s massive burgeoning population also includes necessary changes at the United Nations Security Council [3]:

“Given the current situation, we naturally would like to remind you that the Russian Federation is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, therefore, it plays an important role in bringing the African continent’s plans to fruition, and our continent is striving for a constant and sustainable development. Africa believes that throughout many centuries it was exploited in an unfair manner. And despite the fact that formerly countries have managed to overthrow the colonial rule; in reality, we have not managed to create genuine national states. And together, with the African Union, we must endeavor to change the membership of the United Nations Security Council. Despite certain minor reforms that have taken place in recent years, the domination of those who have always dominated persists. We come under pressure—they use our financial debt for their interests, destroying our economy and increasing poverty and extreme poverty in our countries…”—-Mr. Mohamed al-Menfi, Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya

Drought, food insecurity, and economic need is why even on the same weekend, Niger underwent a military coup in Africa. The coup leader, General Abdourahmane Tiani, claims change has been too slow. His junta incites the people to rally outside in what looks like a color revolution; that is, the swapping of French flags for Russian flags [4]:

“We have uranium! We have diamonds! We have gold! We have oil! And we live like slaves?..We won’t accept it! The French base in Niger must leave!”—Djassare Moussa, Demonstrator

Africa knows its history of oppression, yet is it willing to nationalize its resources for the benefit of its peoples? Perhaps it has already struck too close a bargain with the IMF/World Bank in exchange for U.N. assistance. Often IGOs and INGOs foster a dependency that fuels the interests of board members seeking to wield all kinds of influence. It is why eventually even isolatory military dictatorships, whether in Burma or Africa, become preferable rather than becoming a Western puppet state, such as Ukraine is today.

It is why, perhaps, Wagner PMC has found a second-home in Africa helping to secure the Sahel, an ancient pastoral grasslands region, through which nomadic herders graze their cattle and settle, depending upon the season, and circumnavigate the borderlands. In fact, presently due to the militarization of Niger, Europe is not only worried about securing uranium, but also its future overland oil and gas pipelines running from Nigeria through Niger and to Algeria. Short of dialogue and diplomacy, is the stage is being set for a new theatre of war?

Of course, assuming that the great continent of Africa, which recently in June concluded a partially successful peace mission to Ukraine and Russia insofar as the Summit was concerned, is genuinely concerned for its population, it will prefer diplomacy among the West African ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) before launching into battle, since they must be cognizant that the West (and the North) can care less who kills whom. Among ECOWAS, Nigeria is a relatively affluent and successful liberal nation. Statewide and culturally, Nigeria is even the model of progressiveness: there is no widespread unrest and rioting, such as evident in South Africa, riven by its obsessions with race-and-social-justice.

For Africa, even presuming they are playing all sides from the middle for free money, weapons, aid, and investments, whether from the West, Russia, China, India, etc, at the moment, the trust and hoped for economic alliances offered by the Russians are an antidote to the bitterness of its historical domination by colonialist nations. Just as many states are recently signing security agreements with Russia as have signed agreements with the United States (Africom). But according to the Summit Recap, five key Russia-Africa partnership documents were signed, and 161 agreements, mostly involving humanitarian cooperation in fields such as trade, education, science, technical, and finance. [1]

In the long term, however, the question remains: Can Africa’s lofty goal of independence and intracontinental trade autonomy ever be achieved?

Judging from the pace of diplomacy with regard to the Ukraine-Russia war, the West wants nothing more than to fan the flames and extend the proxy war into the southern hemisphere for the sake of isolating Russia. In contrast, the Russians have expressed the willingness and desire to open a peace dialogue, but provided it is respected as a national sovereignty. Afterall, both Ukraine and Russia have committed crimes worthy of the ICC by now. One should recognize that in Ukraine, by historical standards, all Russia sees is a rogue vassal-state, unwilling to pay up on any of its debts, full of corrupt officials, and incessantly hoping to take the war up to the nuclear level if at all possible. This is why, among the agreements signed with Africa, the prominent one is the peace document, “Declaration of the Second Russia-Africa Summit on the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space.” [1]

But Africa today can and should try to lift itself out from its quagmire of vulnerable exploitation. An example is the Self-Help International program based in Ethiopia. Founder Dr. Awol Mela wants to stave off hunger and food shortages in Ethiopia, especially among its predominantly pastoral and rural population. He experimented on the mountain banana tree (Enset) and developed a variety that can thrive in the lowlands. This plant provides villagers a source of emergency food, its fibers serve as rope, and it stabilizes slopes while enriching its soils.

Self-Help International also builds serviceable reservoir and irrigation systems, and provides micro-loans for community farmers and trade markets. The Self Help Development International program (not to be confused with Self Help Africa) is locally based and locally led without foreign aid, and it has successfully transformed rural areas in Ethiopia into independent peaceful villages. Despite the hardwork and the need to have committees to settle disputes, the rewards of local cooperation have transformed Soba into a paradise. [5]

From Moconomy’s “Africa Rising” [6]:`

“The answer is astonishingly simple. Twenty men and women are taught new skills such as dam building, bricklaying, soil rotation, micro-banking or livestock rearing. The deal is that each of them has to pass their new-found knowledge onto twenty more; their ‘followers.’ Those followers then pass it on to twenty more…and so on. Within a short period, tens-of-thousands are now growing cash crops for the first time, digging irrigation systems and even building their own hospitals and schools.”—Africa Rising, Self Help International

At at time when drought, climate change, and adverse natural events are on the rise, it is imperative that more models of Peace, Security, and Development Summits take place such as hosted by Russia in July, to signal to the world that Russia can make amends with the world, and with the West, if only the West respects open-minded dialogue to give peace a chance.

Written by C.Kroll, AGN Editor, Image from

[2] Firstpost, “Live: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin Hails Ties with Africa in Summit at St. Petersburg Summit,” July 27, 2023
[3] Firstpost, “Live: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin Hails Ties with Africa in Summit at St. Petersburg Summit,” July 28, 2023
[4] Vantage with Palki Sharma, “Niger Junta Scraps France Military Deals | Uranium Supplies Next?” Aug 4, 2023, YouTube
[5], Self-Help International – Helping people help themselves since 1959
[6] Moconomy (YouTube), “Africa Rising”–documentary profiles Self Help International in Ethiopia