Home Economy Russia-Africa trade doubled since engagement, says Afreximbank Chief  

Russia-Africa trade doubled since engagement, says Afreximbank Chief  

by Business News Report

President Vladimir Putin of Russia addressing the opening of the Russia-Africa Economic Forum in Sochi, Russian Federation, as Afreximbank President Prof Benedict Oramah (right) and other panelists look on.

Tradebetween Africa and Russia has doubled in the years since the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) started engaging with the Russian Export Center to promote trade between the two sides, Bank President Prof. Benedict Oramah said. Prof. Oramah, 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. He said that Afreximbank and the Russian Export Center had committed to act to achieve another doubling of the trade volume in next two years.

Afreximbank would offer guarantees and other programmes to address certain risk perceptions and increase trade, stated Prof. Oramah. The Bank was also working with the Russian Export Centre to create a trade information portal which would provide information to businesses to facilitate trade between the two sides. 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. In his opening address, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Africa had becoming increasingly attractive to Russian businesses as many of the countries had become centres of economic growth. He announced that Russia had recently written off $20 billion of debt owed by African countries, saying that funds from those debts were being used to set up special programmes to support Africa’s economic development.

President Putin added 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 that 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.

The two-day Russia-Africa Economic Forum is being co-organised by the Russian Federation, through the Roscongress Foundation and the Russian Export Center, and Afreximbank. It is aimed at providing a platform for African and Russian businesses to connect in order to promote increased trade between Africa and Russia. The Russian Export Center is a shareholder in Afreximbank.

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