What does Russia really want from Africa?

In this article published by Africa in Focus (the Brookings Institution) on November 14, 2019, Dr. Jideofor Adibe raised several questions: “Last month’s Russia-Africa summit—the first of its kind—ended with the usual optics and photo-ops, but also spawned $12.5 billion in business deals, largely in arms and grains. Beyond the splashy show of unity and camaraderie, the summit also raised a number of questions—namely, what does Russia really want from Africa? How will Africa’s traditional allies, especially the United States, respond to Russia’s newfound love for the continent? And, does Russia have what it takes to compete with China in Africa?”

A visitor examines a Russian rocket-propelled grenade launcher RPG-29 during the Russia-Africa Economic Forum Exhibition on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum in the Black sea resort of Sochi, Russia, October 24, 2019. Sergei Chirikov/Pool via REUTERS - RC1A50BA75C0

and commented: “It will be simplistic to frame the just-concluded Russia-Africa summit as a copy-cat jamboree organized by Russia to latch on the bandwagon of the increasingly fashionable trend of organizing and institutionalizing Africa summits by countries like China, India, Japan, France, and the United States. The truth is that, since the 2000s, there has been a noticeable re-awakening of Russia’s interest in Africa. Indeed, between 2005 and 2015, Africa’s trade with Russia grew by 185 percent, and Russia has several reasons to engage Africa more intensely.”

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What does Russia really want from Africa?

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