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Russia-Africa Summit Expected to Produce 'Big Decisions,' African MPs Say

© Sputnik / Владимир Астапкович / Go to the mediabankInternational parliamentary conference "Russia-Africa"
International parliamentary conference Russia-Africa - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.03.2023
As Moscow hosts the second Russia-Africa parliamentary conference, Sputnik interviewed a number of officials from African countries who arrived in Russia to attend the event held from March 19-20. The conference is a prelude to the upcoming Russia-Africa Summit which is going to be hosted in July in Saint Petersburg.
Angola expects "big decisions" at the second Russia-Africa Summit despite the international crisis, Angolan Ambassador Augusto da Silva Cunha told Sputnik on the sideline of the second Russian-African parliamentary conference in Moscow.
He added that Luanda counts on strengthening its partnership with Moscow, "a great friend of African countries," particularly in the field of space.
Da Silva Cunha also recalled that implementing the initiatives proposed at the first Russia-Africa Summit held in Sochi in 2019 had been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, Luanda hopes that Moscow will develop a strategy to implement the decisions that were made during the parliamentary conference which was held from March 19-20 in Moscow.
The ambassador also promised that his country will soon respond to the official invitation to the summit. "This is why we are here," he said at the event.
Highlighting the "excellent" partnership in the field of space, da Silva Cunha recalled its climax, when Angola launched a satellite on October 12 last year.
According to him, Moscow and Luanda will hold a bilateral meeting in late April to discuss strengthening cooperation in this area.
Considering Russia "a great friend of African nations," da Silva Cunha recalled that the country "had played an important role in liberating African countries from colonialism." This is the reason why these bonds of friendship will always be maintained, he emphasized.
Along with da Silva Cunha, Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the DR Congo Leonard She Okitundu said his country has "great potential for emerging" together with Russia and other BRICS countries.
"There is a way to cooperate with Russia in many areas that can help Africa catch up in terms of development [...]. We and Russia have almost all the raw materials. The DRC has raw materials but does not have the expertise to develop. But Russia has raw materials and has the expertise," She Okitundu said on the sidelines of the second Russia-Africa parliamentary conference.
The senator noted that BRICS' expertise could serve the African continent.
Speaking on the bilateral relations between Russia and the DRC, Okintundu recalled that Russia helped countries of Africa conquer their independence and sovereignty, and now, he added, Moscow can also help them achieve food sovereignty by implementing joint projects in the hydrocarbon sector and agriculture.
"The DRC has great agricultural potential, but we want to industrialize our agriculture for food security, food sovereignty. And there, once again, Russia can effectively accompany the Democratic Republic of Congo to conquer this food sovereignty," he said.

As the Russia-Africa summit is approaching, more and more African countries get involved in cooperation with Moscow on bilateral basis, while the collective West aims to isolate Russia.

The DRC parliamentarian stated, however, that Russia is far from being isolated, emphasizing the existing proximity between Africa and Russia.

"As you noticed, almost all of Africa is here. So Russia is not as isolated as people think, and the African continent is very close to the Russian Federation. And seeing that almost all African countries are present here made me very happy. It shows the importance we attach to cooperation with Russia," concluded the senator.

  Russia-Africa International Parliamentary conference  - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.03.2023
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Africans Want to 'Say Their Word'

African countries sent their delegations to the second Russia-Africa parliamentary conference in Moscow, because they want to "say their word," Anicet Gabriel Kotchofa, former Bein ambassador to Moscow, said.
"Russia must come with a win-win partnership towards Africa, taking into account the current realities of Africa" if it intends to strengthen its ties with the continent, Kotchofa stated at the event.
"The context is different. You must take into account our traditions, our cultures, our needs. Even the training of cadres, which is the first factor of cooperation between Russia and us, we must know what Africa needs, what cadres. These are geologists like me, these are people in the field of agriculture. These are people in the field of new technology. That's the question that Russia must ask the African states: what do you want and how do you want it?" said the diplomat.
As for relations between Moscow and African countries, "everything will depend on how Russia is going to welcome Africa," he continued.
According to Kotchofa, another reason why Africans came to the conference is their desire to live in a multipolar world.
"We are here for that, African countries must also be able to have their say, like all the other countries," he said.
He believes that holding the parliamentary conference is "proof that Africa is ready to arrive" at the second Russia-Africa Summit.
"I can tell you that the atmosphere here is quite good. Africans responded positively to the invitation," he noted.
The diplomat explained that Africa's expectations after the first Russia-Africa Summit were not fully met - first because of the COVID-19 pandemic and then because of the conflict in Ukraine.

"Africa now wants to rely on the second summit to strengthen its relations with Russia to a fairly high level. Africa is waiting for Russia. Russia for years has been oriented towards Europe. Today, Russia has understood that Europe is not the direction it should take. It should look south now," concluded the diplomat.

Christine Naboi Peter, a member of the South Sudanese parliament, who also arrived in Moscow, said the conference was a "very good opportunity to exchange contacts with trade partners from many countries."
According to her, the format of the event also allowed to talk about "the economic situation in Africa and how Russia can help and support African countries."
This second Russia-Africa parliamentary conference is part of the preparation for the second Russia-Africa summit scheduled for the end of July in Saint Petersburg. The event was attended by about 40 delegations from African countries.
The conference aimed to strengthen parliamentary cooperation with African countries in the age of forming a multipolar world. It was addressed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. One of the main topics was the development of unified approaches to legal regulation in the economy, education and science, as well as in the field of security.
March 20, 2023. Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the international parliamentary conference Russia - Africa in a multipolar world. - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.03.2023
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