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New African unity piques Russian interest

New African unity piques Russian interest

Niël Terblanché

THE creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area as part of the African Union’s development goals and other integration processes unfolding on the continent has opened up opportunities for cooperation with Russia.

 

President Hage Geingob participated in the historic first ever Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi and during a plenary session at the summit said it is an epoch-making moment where enduring friendship should drive African countries towards an era defined by multilateralism and an era in which international solidarity will open the gateway towards global peace, global unity and the realization of shared prosperity, for all the world’s people.

 

Dr. Geingob said the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as one of the key priorities of Africa ´s Agenda 2063 and a flagship project for the continent highlights one of the most recent significant continental achievements. He said the AfCFTA promises to unlock Africa’s economic potential and bolster regional and continental economic integration and trade.

 

“We invite our Russian friends to join us as we seek to leverage the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area.”
Dr. Geingob, however warned that the world is at a crossroads because the forces of nationalism are growing; promoting unilateralism through protectionism and placing multilateralism under threat.

 

“If this trend is not countered, we could slide into an era of unipolarism. This will not be beneficial for anyone, in the long run. Our world needs multilateralism and countervailing forces to keep each other in check,” Dr. Geingob said.

 

Dr. Geingob express strong determination to strengthen peace and security and building of a just and equitable system of international relations.

Dr. Geingob’s statement during the plenary session of the first ever Russia-Africa Summit reads as follows:

 

We are deeply honoured to be present here, in this beautiful city of Sochi, to witness this momentous occasion in Russia-Africa relations; the first historic Russia-Africa Summit, taking place under the theme: “For peace, security and development”.

 

We express our gratitude to His Excellency Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, for the invitation extended to African leaders to be part of this important and historic Summit. We also thank President Putin and the people of the Russian Federation, for the warm hospitality extended to us, since our arrival in Sochi.

 

As former freedom fighters, we recall the invaluable support we received from the Soviet Union, now Russia. This is the country where we were housed, trained and supported, during our liberation struggle. It is for this reason that Russia and Africa share an enduring and longstanding partnership, founded on the firm bonds of friendship and solidarity.

 

We are pleased, that during this second phase of the struggle, we are able to converge at this historic Summit, to reignite our bonds of friendship with the Russian people, and set the stage for an effective mechanism for enhancing mutual beneficial cooperation between Africa and the Russian Federation.

 

Africa is undergoing a period of rapid transformation, where we are in pursuit of achieving “An Integrated, Prosperous and Peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena” with a new focus in order to drive Africa’s development and economic growth.

 

Underpinning this vision is Agenda 2063, a “manifestation of the pan-African drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity pursued under Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance”.

 

The launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as one of the key priorities of Africa ´s Agenda 2063 and a flagship project for the continent, highlights one of the most recent significant continental achievements. The AfCFTA promises to unlock Africa’s economic potential and bolster regional and continental economic integration and trade. Therefore, we invite our Russian friends to join us as we seek to leverage the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area AFCFTA.

 

Our world is at a crossroads. The forces of nationalism are growing; promoting unilateralism through protectionism and placing multilateralism under threat. If this trend is not countered, we could slide into an era of unipolarism. This will not be beneficial for anyone, in the long run. Our world needs multilateralism and countervailing forces to keep each other in check.

 

Therefore, as we forge ahead in cementing this special partnership, our partnership should preserve and guarantee the key principles of inclusivity and equality of all Member States to enable inclusive growth and shared prosperity.

 

We further believe that the success of this partnership also hinges on the establishing a formalized agreement with the African Union Commission and robust mechanism to review our collective commitments and implementation.

 

This epoch-making moment; the inaugural Russia Africa Summit, is the moment where our enduring friendship should drive us towards an era defined by multilateralism and an era in which international solidarity will open the gateway towards global peace, global unity and the realization of shared prosperity, for all the world’s people. We are therefore glad to partake in this historic Summit which holds the promise for enhanced peace, security and development. Let us make this the reality of the present and the future, Russia-Africa friendship.

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