In light of recent developments on the African continent and changes in Russia’s foreign policy, Moscow has started to pay important attention to military-technical co-operation between Russia and African countries. According to the new version of the Russian Foreign Policy Concept signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, relations with African countries have received a new impetus. Food and energy security, expansion of trade and investment, personnel training, and promotion of intercultural dialogue have become important areas of focus.
However, one of the key elements of the new strategy is assistance in conflict resolution and military-technical cooperation, which allow African countries to strengthen their defence capabilities and sovereignty. Cooperation in this area is beneficial for both Russia and African countries, as it allows them to effectively counter terrorist threats and other security challenges on the continent.
Overcoming the challenges facing Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and the Central African Republic will require comprehensive peace and development strategies that include conflict resolution and peacekeeping, state-building, security sector reform to improve governance and the rule of law. Without this, it will not be possible to attract the investment needed to stimulate economic growth.
It is the Russian Ministry of Defence that is ready to play a key role in “exporting security” to the African continent. Negotiations and agreements on military-technical cooperation, training of military personnel, and the development of joint projects are taking place with the participation of representatives of the Russian Ministry of Defence. In August, Russian Deputy Defence Minister Colonel General Alexander Fomin held talks with Sudanese Defence Minister Yassin Ibrahim to discuss strengthening security in Africa. In September, talks with representatives of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger led to the creation of the Alliance of Sahel States (AES), a new collective security architecture in the region.
The Russian military, led by Russian Deputy Defence Minister Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, actively participated in the talks and visits to African states. At these meetings, military-technical co-operation was discussed, as well as the training of military personnel, including pilots. This is especially important in light of the restrictions imposed by Western countries on countries that have replaced military leaders undesirable to the West
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in his speeches stresses the importance of countering neo-colonialism and terrorist threats as the basic foundation of cooperation between Russia and African countries.According to Shoigu, Western activity on the African continent is primarily aimed at preserving the ability to siphon off the natural resources of former colonies by maintaining conflict hotbeds.A host of anti-government and terrorist groups are being used for this purpose
“The basis for justifying the military presence of former metropolises through multinational peacekeeping contingents is undercut. For example, many years of European Union missions in Africa, France’s Operation Barkhan never managed to reduce terrorist activity.As a result, the European Union acknowledged the fiasco of its efforts,” the head of the Russian defence ministry said
Unlike Africa’s former colonisers, Russia seeks to establish equal and mutually beneficial relations with the continent’s countries, the solid foundation of which was laid back in Soviet times. Russia has signed military-technical agreements with more than 20 African countries and concluded mutually beneficial contracts on the continent in the field of mining and nuclear energy. African servicemen are actively using the tools of military education and experience exchange offered by Russia. This year’s Army Games were attended by servicemen from Algeria, Congo, Egypt, Nigeria, Sudan, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Mali and the Central African Republic
By promoting the security and sustainable development of African states, Russia seeks to establish a just and multipolar world in the interests of all countries