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News / Brèves

Forty African Leaders Attend Russia-Africa Parliamentary Conference in Moscow

30 March 2023

EIRNS—Any illusions the Anglo-Americans may have been nurturing that they could sway African countries firmly into the unilateralist camp with a “Leaders Summit” and aggressive diplomacy have been dashed, as the parliamentary leaders of 40 African nations showed up in Moscow for the Russia-Africa Parliamentary Conference, March 19-20. Worse for Washington and London, attendance was higher than in 2019 at the pre-Ukraine summit, at which 36 countries defied the unipolar order. The conference of lawmakers was designed to lay the groundwork for the July 28-29 Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg.

With the conference theme being “Russia-Africa in a Multipolar World,” the contrast between the dying unilateral order and the emerging multipolar world was in sharp focus. In his keynote address on March 19, Chairman of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin said, “Washington and Brussels seek to take control of Russian and African natural resources. In fact, they continue their colonial policy. They go to any measures, including force and terrorist nature, for their own benefit.” According to TASS, the summit brought together “representatives of the scientific, educational and expert communities from Russia and African countries,” along with representatives from Russian federal and regional political and business communities. Four roundtables included, “Parliamentary Support of Scientific and Educational Cooperation”; “Legislative Response to Economic Challenges”; “Indivisible Security: Capabilities and Contributions of Parliaments”; and “Neocolonialism of the West: How To Prevent the Repetition of History.”

Emphasizing the importance of Africa in the rising new order, Russian President Vladimir Putin took time out from his simultaneous discussions with China’s President Xi Jinping to personally address the lawmakers. The contrast between the two world orders was best shown by Putin’s description of Russia’s fight to feed African nations with “Black Sea grain”:

“Let me stress that only if our position is taken into account will the fair and comprehensive implementation of the Black Sea grain deal be ensured, and depending on this, we will decide on our further participation in it. For reference, I can give you the following information. From August 1, 2022, to March 20, 2023, 827 ships left Ukraine, of which only 3 million tonnes of grain were sent to Africa and 1.3 million to the poorest countries in Africa. As I said, almost 45% went to well-fed European countries, despite the fact that this whole deal was presented under the pretext of ensuring the interests of African countries.

“By the way, let me note that at the same time, despite all the restrictions and limitations on the export of Russian grain, almost 12 million tonnes were sent from Russia to Africa.

“I would also like to add that if we decide not to extend this deal after 60 days, Russia will be ready to supply the same amount that was delivered under the deal, from Russia to the African countries in great need, at no expense,”

he insisted, drawing applause.

Although not mentioned in his speech, more than one news outlet has reported that Putin has additionally canceled $20 billion in African debt, dating from the Soviet era. It has been being written off for decades, with Sergey Lavrov having put the total figure at $140 billion since 2000.