UCF Global Perspectives


First Russia-African Summit Held in Sochi

Taylor Jenko, Lester N. Mandell Diplomacy Fellow, Diplomacy

October 29, 2019

Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted 43 African leaders in Sochi for the first Russia-Africa summit (AP). Putin spoke with African officials on establishing defense and trade agreements, and announced the relief of $20 billion in African debts (AP). Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russian leadership will improve the political influence of African leaders among world powers (Reuters). Currently, Russian bilateral relationships with African nations are primarily based on arms sales,with cooperation agreements between 28 African countries.
Senior fellow in Carnegie’s Russia and Eurasia Program Paul Stronsky said the summit was intended to “rattle the U.S. and Europe, which have taken Russia’s decades-long absence from Africa for granted” (Axios). Putin criticized Western leaders for their past and present exploitation of the African continent (Reuters). While Russian and African government officials are crafting agreements on trade, defense,and education, United States leaders have not stated clear goals for U.S.-Africa relations (AP). One agreement between Russian and African leaders include the supply of 12 Russian made Mi-35 attack helicopters to Nigeria (Reuters).

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