Southern African Development Community and the Russian Federation have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding
Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Russian Federation have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that envisages strengthening ties in a broad range of fields and shows that SADC remains as one of Russia‘s key partners in Africa.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Stergomena Lawrence Tax signed for the Russian Federation and SADC respectively.
“Our meeting symbolizes a new stage in the relations between Russia and the SADC. The previous document on cooperation was signed in 2003, and in the last fifteen years, our cooperation has reached a qualitatively new level,” Lavrov said.
“Africa is an important partner for Russia, a participant in the emerging and sustainable polycentric architecture of the world order. Our relations with the states of that continent are valuable in their own right and should not be subject to the fluctuations on the international arena,” Lavrov also said earlier at the Russia-Africa civil/public gathering.
“We are aware that our African friends hold the same views. Relying on the accumulated experience of productive cooperation, Russian diplomats seek to pursue a consistent policy for deepening the range of Russia-Africa relations,” he added.
Lavrov has considered it absolutely necessary to maximize the potential of public, cultural and business diplomacy in the interests of strengthening and expanding the mutually beneficial ties between Russia and African states while invariably adhering to the African solutions to African problems principle formulated by the Africans themselves.
The Minister further informed that a parliamentary and a business forum would be held in the near future which will further help expand economic cooperation with Africa.
In turn, the SADC Executive Secretary Stergomena Lawrence Tax stated that “Russia and Africa have been partners for many years, and expressed a desire to achieve a new level in their relations.”
She also observed that Russia, a few years ago, it has not been that visible in the region as compared to China, India or Brazil. But, it is encouraging that, of recent years, Russia has repositioned itself to be a major partner with Southern Africa.
She, however, expressed gratitude that Russia has launched a plan aimed at improving direct trade with the continent/region beyond the traditional sectors like mining, seeking to invest in areas like agriculture, industrial production, high technology, and transport.
Russian Federation‘s priorities are also in line with SADC priorities as evidenced by the priorities of the Foreign Economic Strategy in the region as indicated below:
Prospecting, mining, oil, construction, and mining, purchasing gas, oil, uranium, and bauxite assets (Angola, Namibia and South Africa);
Construction of power facilities—hydroelectric power plants on the River Congo (Angola, Namibia, and Zambia,) and nuclear power plants (South Africa);
Creating a floating nuclear power plant, and South African participation in the international project to build a nuclear enrichment center in Russia;
Railway Construction (Angola);
Creation of Russian trade houses for the promotion and maintenance of Russian engineering products (South Africa).
Participation of Russian companies in the privatization of industrial assets, including those created with technical assistance from the former Soviet Union (Angola).
In the Russian Federation, ten SADC member countries have their diplomatic offices namely: Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The Southern African region is the integrated market resulting from a combined population of approximately 327 million people, and a collective GDP of US$ 600 billion (2016), which is supported by generally favorable weather conditions in most parts of the region.
The Southern African Development Community, an inter-governmental organization headquartered in Gaborone in Botswana, has made its goal to further socio-economic cooperation and integration as well as political and security cooperation among 16 Southern African states.
Source: The Exchange