Russia and African diplomats exchanged ideas and came up with a way that Africa-Russia collaboration can bring development across the continent.
This idea came to light on December 19, 2022, at a regular meeting of the Russian-African Club, established in June 2022. The meeting was held at the State Museum of the East in Moscow.
The club brought together diplomats, politicians, public figures and representatives of the business, scientific, educational and cultural community of Russia and Africa.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the African diasporas, diplomats from the embassies of African countries, representatives of the secretariat of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum, state authorities and public organizations. African and Russian students were also present.
The meeting of the club members began with a visit to an exhibition dedicated to the journey of the Russian artist Dmitry Efimov to Egypt (1834-1835). At the end of the excursion, the participants were enlivened by the performance of an ethnic drumming group from the Congo. The original and incendiary performance vividly demonstrated the rich musical culture of the African continent.
The club meeting was opened by AF Berdnikov, Executive Secretary of the club and gave the floor to the director of the State Museum of the East, Sedov AV
He warmly welcomed the meeting participants and expressed his support for the initiatives of the Russian-African Club, especially stressing the importance of the creation of the Museum of African Cultures.
Vice-President of the Association of Russian Diplomats, former Ambassador to Africa Egoshkin VE, expressed confidence that active work with African and Russian youth is the key to the revival and successful development of strong mutually beneficial cooperation between Russia and Africa. An example is the youth movement “Diplomats of the Future”, whose members are schoolchildren not only from Russia but also from many CIS countries. Children study the languages and culture of African peoples and participate in competitions dedicated to the history and culture of the African continent.
Luciano Nkogo Ndong Ayekaba, Ambassador of Guinea to the Russian Federation, spoke at the Club meeting. He pointed out that Africa will never forget the enormous contribution that the USSR made to the formation of the state and the independence of the countries of the African continent. And now Russia is making a significant contribution by helping African countries in the economic and humanitarian spheres, especially in the field of education. The ambassador expressed his firm belief that, despite the colossal pressure from the West, Africa will always be with Russia. For African countries, the development and strengthening of comprehensive ties with the Russian Federation is of great importance.
As for economic cooperation, Africa really needs Russian businessmen to develop the external and internal market, especially to further strengthen ties with Russia.
The public initiatives of the club were supported by the deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation Butina MV. The deputy considered the idea of creating the Museum of African Cultures in Moscow correct and timely and proposed the creation of the Casa de África in the capital, following the example of the already existing Casa de América Latina.
These proposals were supported by Kinfu Zenebe Tafesse, President of the African Diaspora in Russia. He conveyed greetings to the club members from all African diasporas and stressed that he considered it especially important to help in the employment of African graduates of Russian universities who have decided to link their destiny with Russia.
The President of the Diaspora of the Republic of Cameroon in the Russian Federation, Louis Gowend, made his proposals for the development of the club. In his opinion, the Russian-African Club follows the correct policy of strengthening ties with the African diasporas represented in Russia. This is the key to the Club’s success. Louis Gowend proposed to organize an exhibition of African works of art to coincide with this exhibition on the anniversary of Africa Day on May 25, 2023.
Maurice Okole, Chairman of the Nigerian Diaspora in Russia, believed that all Russian organizations aimed at strengthening cooperation with Africa should help Africans learn more about Russia. The peoples of African countries often receive information about Russia through the prism of the Western media. Therefore, the leader of the Nigerian diaspora considered that the most important part of his work is the delivery of correct information to his compatriots in African countries, the promotion of Russian culture and scientific achievements among the peoples. africans.
Nigerian Diaspora in Europe (NIDO) Chairman Bashir Obasekola supported his colleague. He pointed to the long history of Russian-African relations. The Nigerian representative expressed confidence in the need to increase Russian investment in Africa. He also stressed the importance of increasing African specialists educated at Russian universities and helping Russian-speaking graduates find jobs in Africa. According to the president of NIDO, Africans in Russia must participate in the social, economic and political spheres, which will significantly strengthen the connection between Russia and Africa.
At the end of the act, the floor was given to the youngest member of the Club, David Okpatuma from Nigeria. He represented the Friends for Leadership project team and is chair of the board of the DevCA initiative. In his speech, he emphasized that Russia, despite being a superpower, did not participate in the exploitation and colonization of Africa. He expressed the hope that Russian-African relations will be truly mutually beneficial, as they were before, and work for the common good. He hopes that young people will become more active in high-tech areas, including agriculture, communications and information technology.
The meeting of the Russian-African Club ended with a friendly pre-New Year communication with a great mood and positive plans for the future.