Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has written off $20 billion of accumulated debt owed by African countries during the Soviet era.
Putin said this during the Russia-Africa forum in Sochi.
He added that the funds from those debts were being used to set up special programmes to support Africa’s economic development.
“Russia had recently written off $20 billion of debt owed by African countries,” Putin said, adding, “funds from those debts were being used to set up special programmes to support Africa’s economic development.”
“It was not only an act of generosity but also a manifestation of pragmatism because many of the African states were not able to pay interest on these loans,” he said.
The Russian president also said Africa was attractive to Russian businesses as many of the countries have become centres of economic growth.
President Putin also said that the Russian Federation would work with Africa to support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement, in particular by supporting collaboration with the Eurasian Economic Union.
In his own contribution, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, President of Egypt and current Chairman of the African Union, said Africa was embarking on a new phase of economic development that had seen it implementing social and economic reforms and making strong efforts at regional and continental integration.
Consequently, the continent welcomed cooperation with partners and was inviting such partners to increase their investments and financial commitments in the continent, he said.
According to President Al-Sisi, such cooperation must be based on mutual interest and the protection of African property in order to ensure sustainable economic development.
Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, who was speaking during the opening of the Russia-Africa Economic Forum organised as part of the first-ever Russia-Africa Summit taking place in Sochi, Russian Federation, told the heads of state from about 50 African countries from Africa and Russia and other participants that annual trade between Africa and Russia now stood at about $20 billion as against $10 billion in the past.
“Afreximbank and the Russian Export Centre had committed to act to achieve another doubling of the trade volume in the next two years.
“Afreximbank would offer guarantees and other programmes to address certain risk perceptions and increase trade,” said Oramah.
He welcomed the holding of the Russia-Africa Economic Forum, saying that the event was an opportunity for Africa to find new partners who would support the continent in dealing with some of the challenges confronting it.