Isolated on the international stage since the start of its military offensive in Ukraine, Moscow held its second Russia-Africa summit on Thursday and Friday. At the closing of this event, which brought together delegations from 49 African countries, Vladimir Putin affirmed his intention to promote a “fair and democratic multipolar world order” and to “fight against neocolonialism”.
The Russian president concludes his charm offensive towards African countries with a strong critique of the West. On the last day of the Russia-Africa summit in Saint Petersburg on Friday, July 28, Vladimir Putin declared that Moscow and the countries of the continent were committed to promoting a “multipolar world order” and combating “neocolonialism”.
“The commitment of all our states to the formation of a fair and democratic multipolar world order has been reaffirmed,” said Vladimir Putin in his closing speech, referring to a “shared determination to fight against neocolonialism” and “illegitimate” sanctions.
Isolated on the international stage since the start of its military offensive in Ukraine in 2022, Moscow organized its second Russia-Africa summit on Thursday and Friday, bringing together delegations from 49 African countries, including 17 heads of state.
A joint declaration was adopted at the end of this meeting, providing for increased cooperation in the areas of food supply, energy, and development assistance.
It calls for the “creation of a fairer, more balanced, and sustainable multipolar world order, firmly opposing any form of international confrontation on the African continent,” according to the text published on the Kremlin’s website.
The text also states that Moscow will assist African countries in “obtaining compensation for the economic and humanitarian damage caused by Western colonial policies,” including the “return of looted cultural property.”
Towards a summit every three years
Vladimir Putin clarified that he still needed to discuss the situation in Ukraine with “interested African countries” in the evening.
“The representatives of African states have shown political will, demonstrated their independence, and displayed real interest in developing cooperation with our country,” he said.
According to him, a Russia-Africa summit will now be held every three years, and a “partnership and dialogue mechanism” will be created for “security issues,” including the fight against terrorism, food security, and climate change.
“There is also talk of systematically transitioning to national currencies, including the ruble, in the financial settlements of commercial transactions” between Russia and Africa, he added.
Vladimir Putin had already promised on Thursday to deliver cereals for free to six African countries in the coming months, amid concerns following Moscow’s abandonment of the agreement on Ukrainian agricultural exports.
For several years, Russia has been forging closer ties with Africa, including through the services of the paramilitary group Wagner, presenting itself as a bulwark against Western “imperialism” and “neocolonialism.”