Russias New Strategy in the African Direction

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-12-90-100

I. Abramova (,
Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, 30/1, Spiridonovka Str., Moscow, 123001, Russian Federation;
L. Fituni (,
Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, 30/1, Spiridonovka Str., Moscow, 123001, Russian Federation

Acknowledgements. The article was prepared as part of the Basic Research Program of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences for 2019 22 “Analysis and Forecast of New Global Challenges for Russia”, Subprogram “Africa in New Global Realities: Challenges and Opportunities for Russia”.

Abstract. This article critically reviews the previous and the still existing scholarship that promotes skeptical and arrogant approach to the debate on Russia’s economic cooperation with Africa. It problematizes prevailing conceptualizations, addresses methodological difficulties of data analysis, scrutinizes theoretical references in past argumentations and political actions in this respect. As an alternative to negative approaches prevailing in the 1990s and early 2000s, the authors suggest to cease neglecting the window of opportunities opened by dynamic nature of the rapidly developing African economies. Time is ripe for launching and implementing a New Strategy of economic cooperation with Africa. The article provides an analysis of the accumulated experience of Soviet-African cooperation. It demonstrates the available possibilities of reaping benefit from its use for the purposes of strengthening Russia’s economic and political positions on the African continent to achieve the announced goals of becoming one of the five largest economies in the world, ensuring high rates of economic growth, and creating in the basic sectors of the economy, particularly in manufacturing and agriculture, a highly productive export-oriented sector, based on modern technologies and fully provided with highly qualified personnel. The authors posit that in the existing conditions it is almost impossible to complete this ambitious task without interacting with African market. Russian industry undergoes a long awaited but still tentative revival. Emerging and developing countries, particularly burgeoning African economies, which offer an ever increasing demand, currently offer welcoming environment for testing the quality and competitiveness of Russian manufacturing goods. China selected this path in the 1990s, successfully taking over the share of the rapidly growing African consumer market vacated by Russia. However, it is not only and not so much an increase in mutual trade that Africa awaits from Russia, not even cooperation in mining, but investments in other strategic industries and sectors of the economy, such as energy generation, infrastructure construction, particularly transport related infrastructure projects like highways and road construction, railways, airports and maritime ports development, processing and manufacturing, sectors of advanced technological knowledge and skills application.

Keywords: Africa, USSR, Russian-African cooperation, Sochi Summit, non-resource export, investment, scientific diplomacy


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For citation:
Abramova I., Fituni L. Russias New Strategy in the African Direction. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2019, vol. 63, no. 12, pp. 90-100.

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