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Industrialization, Science, Growth Dominates Russia-Africa Economic Forum and Summit

Oct. 23, 2019 (EIRNS)—Reports on the agreements reached during the first day of the Oct. 23-24 Russia-Africa Economic Forum and Summit are beginning to come in. One thing is clear: The African nations are thinking big, and Russia is stepping up to support them. Some examples:

The Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) is considering establishing representative offices in a number of African countries, particularly in Ethiopia, South Africa, Egypt and Uganda, RAS Vice President Yuri Balega told TASS.

Alexey Likhachev, Director General of Russia’snuclear power corporation Rosatom, told TASS that he had the honor of participating in all the bilateral meetings President Vladimir Putin held with African leaders today—at least eight countries, according to the Kremlin website—and in “all meetings the question was raised of advancing our cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear power.... I can say that we have created a full-fledged regulatory basis with a third of African countries. About half of African states are discussing or have already concluded concrete contracts and launched joint projects with us. As for the other countries, we are still in talks with them, hopefully with chances of success,” he specified.

Nor does Russia have any intention of denying Africa the use of its fossil fuel deposits. The Lukoil CEO Vagit Alekperov told reporters that “an array of agreements” for exploration cooperation, mostly offshore, were to be signed today. Requests from several countries for aid in developing downstream projects (e.g., refining) have been received, but he cautioned those face more “challenging” considerations.

The topics of the numerous panels ranged from housing construction, to securing economic and technological sovereignty, the possibilities for joint transport infrastructure projects, developing integrated processes and collaboration between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and Africa, possibilities for industrial and energy cooperation, using minerals in Africa for the benefit of its people, healthcare, and much more.

The agenda set for the panel on “Russia and Africa: Science, Education and Innovation for Economic Development” characterizes the tenor of the forum as a whole:

“The accelerated development of both Russia’s and Africa’s economic potential is inextricably linked to scientific output and the improvement of general education and training. The 21st century has heralded the rise of the knowledge economy. Scientific research and development results in new products and industries, and is able to make a vital contribution to tackling current social and economic challenges facing our countries... What can Russia offer today in terms of developing science and education in Africa, particularly as part of the African Union’s Agenda 2063? What new opportunities does cooperation in science and education with countries of the African continent present to Russia?”

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