The Heads of States of more than 40 African countries attended the first Africa –Russia Summit in Sochi. The two day summit held on 23 -24 October 2019 was co- hosted by the Russian President Vladimir Putin along with Egyptian Abdel Fattah el-Sisi focused mainly on business deals with Africa as well as security. In an earlier interview by the the state-run TASS news service published on Monday, 21st October 2019, Putin said: “The two-day summit…. is an effort to revive former Cold War relations, when African regimes often allied with Moscow in the ideological contest with the U.S. before the Soviet Union’s collapse, It’s “an unprecedented, benchmark event”.
On March 2014, the European Union and a number of countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Switzerland, New Zealand, Iceland and others began to impose sanctions against Russia over the annexation of Crimea. The sanctions led to the shrinking of Russia’s economy, which is of the most powerful and influential states in the world. The summit is the latest and renewed efforts to salvage its sluggish economy which recorded just a growth of 1% this year from 2.3% in 2018. Notably, major powers are already looting Africa’s extractive resources through their so-called ‘business development gatherings’ such as US-Africa Business Forum, Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and Japan’s Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD) etc. Despite Russia’s exportation of food substances worth $ 25 billion and arms worth $ 1b billion to Africa, it is a drop in the ocean compared to China, which in its exchange of goods with Africa has made a profit of $ 204 billion! On the other hand, Russia’s trade with Africa stands at $ 26 billion! Therefore, Moscow aims to take advantage of the summit to lay down its push to rival the U.S., the European Union and China as strategic players in the resource-rich continent.
It is clear that Putin’s leadership is greatly craving for Africa’s wealth and hopes to maximize his trade with the continent. According to its State News Agency, the summit has seen Russia striking business deals with some African leaders that include nuclear technology, mining and industries. It has already set an amount worth $ 190 billion for its investments in infrastructure that projects a profit of $ 7 billion. For the past years, Moscow’s investments have been limited into North Africa and it is clear from the summit that Moscow now wants to diversify its investments into other parts of Africa.
Moscow is investing in new military capabilities, including nuclear systems that remain the most significant existential threat to the United States. Exporting arms into Africa is Russia’s attempt to interfere in the domestic political affairs of some African countries to win agents who will advance her greedy in looting Africa. However, since majority of African governments, if not all, are under the influence of Europe and United States, and due to Russia’ political weakness compared to US and Europe that attempt is facing a major setback. Russia has a military presence in Central African Republic, which is described as “strategically important” and a “buffer zone between the Muslim north and Christian south. In Rwanda, which seem to have close ties with Russia in recent time, its cabinet has already signed a deal with Russia to establish a nuclear plant by 2024.
Capitalists on one side are exploiting Africa’s’ wealth under the pretext of maintaining security, conservation and protection of the African environment and writing off its debts. On the other side is African leaders who under the banner of development programs and who have been smart brokers of selling Africa to the highest capitalist bidders in exchange for meager leftovers that end up in causing more harm than good to both the their countries and citizens. In Kenya for instance, the SGR program, which was financed through a loan worth Ksh 324 billion, has seen 60% of Container Freight Stations employees lost their jobs following the State’s directive to transport all containers of imported good from Mombasa to Nairobi by Standard Gauge Railway instead of roads!
Africa ought to know that Russia, China, America and Europe all are capitalist states and have vested interests in Africa. The business deals with the continent is just a new scramble for its resources. They are preparing the grounds in Africa through explorations on land and under the sea, bribing African government officials, increased military expenditure for ‘Peace mission’ across the continent and several presidential visits to secure political allegiance to oil and gas exports. The mega Western companies and African governments read from the same script of Capitalism and therefore the wealth generated from all exports tends to circulate amongst themselves leaving ordinary people to languish in abject poverty. Khilafah is the only state that will significantly protect the wealth of the blessed continent by cutting ties with Capitalists nations thus removing the disturbing images of hunger, disease and illiterate into wealthy, healthy and advanced African continent.
Media Representative of Hizb ut Tahrir in Kenya