A top Russian politician says Russia is on a massive drive to pursue trade partnerships with African nations, focusing on mutually beneficial economic cooperation rather than exploiting mineral resources.
Andrei Klimov, the Russian Deputy Chairman of the Commission for International Cooperation and Support of Compatriots Abroad, says African nations can gain advantages by collaborating with Russia to overcome the persistence of neocolonialism.
He expressed his thoughts during an online press briefing held with journalists from African countries on Tuesday, December 5.
The briefing centred on the potential collaboration between Russia and African states to address the negative impacts of colonialism and counter the ongoing exploitation of Africa’s valuable mineral resources by global superpowers.
Klimov emphasized the significance of initiating discussions with African media agencies before the upcoming International Forum of Supporters of the Fight Against Modern Practices of Neocolonialism, set to be held in Moscow early next year.
“The purpose of the forum is to officially announce the formation of a movement with the goal of dismantling neocolonialism. Our intention is not to target any specific country or group of people, but rather to address the issues of exploitation and neo-colonialism. Our objective is to establish an environment characterized by complete freedom. We have already held meetings with the leaders of African states to collaborate on our shared goal of promoting an anti-neocolonialism agenda,” stated Klimov, who is also a member of the Bureau of the Supreme Council of the All-Russian Political Party, commonly known as “United Russia”.
Klimov said African countries needed to cultivate and reclaim their distinct identities, without sacrificing their rights to land and mineral resources in exchange.
He stated that the most effective approach would be to focus on developing policies that enable Africa to prosper without relying on external exploitation, rather than providing military assistance to the continent.
The Russian politician emphasized the significance of addressing the ideology that drives the exploitation of mineral-rich nations in the name of trade.
He said the way the World Trade Organization, an intergovernmental organization responsible for regulating and promoting international trade, favoured powerful nations’ interests was just one of the examples.
“We are against violence because it leads nowhere. No war. We fight against vicious practices. We fight against the tools of neo-colonialism. We do not fight against people. We are a peaceful state. It is about ideology. We speak about the World Trade Organisation, world finance, fair information space where fakes are not acceptable, and the fair distribution of welfare depending on the contribution of a nation,” he said.
According to Klomiv, South Africa is best positioned to serve as a role model for the African continent.
“This is why Russia has been strengthening its relationship with the governing African National Congress (ANC). South Africa holds significant importance due to its large size. South Africa played a significant role in the meetings and summits involving Russia and Africa. Post-colonial Africa is facing several pressing issues that require immediate attention. Certain problems can only be effectively resolved by the people, as they present additional formidable challenges. We would like to receive all of the strategies from our partners. Instead of having hundreds of strategies, it is more beneficial to focus on the synergy of strategies. Those options will not be effective,” Klomiv said.
He added that Russia’s economy was currently more robust than that of the entire European Union.
“We anticipate seeing progress in Africa. We have developed a highly effective format for cultivating strong relationships. Russia has the potential to significantly contribute to the development of Africa. We do not engage in colonization or take from others. Our principle is to foster relationships that are not colonial, but rather equal.”
“One key distinction between Russia, China, and the USA regarding African resources is that Russia played a significant role in supporting the liberation of African countries starting from the 1960s, without establishing any colonies in the region. Our people have a deep appreciation for peace and friendship,” Klimov stressed.
Klimov also cautioned that the rumours about BRICS member states intending to establish a unified currency to undermine the dollar’s dominance were unfounded. The Biden Administration and other senior American politicians, including The US Senate Foreign Policy on Africa Committee chairman, Republican James E. Risch, have repeatedly accused BRICS members of working towards the de-dollarisation of the world economy. They accuse Russia, China and South Africa of leading the charge. At issue is the decision of BRICS countries to trade between and among themselves using their national currencies.
“We advocate for countries to engage in trade using their respective national currencies. The total value of transactions between Russia and China is $200 billion. However, it is important to note that these transactions are conducted using the currencies of the two countries, namely the renminbi and the ruble.”
According to Klimov, implementing this approach will lead to stronger national currencies and more equitable relationships.
“Our objective is to avoid exploitation. There is no need for us to take resources from Africa. We are interested in selling oil to South Africa. We currently offer wheat for sale, and in certain African countries, we provide it free of charge. Our objective is not to exploit, but rather to contribute and assist.”
“If Africa shows a preference for our technologies over those offered by neocolonizers, we can ensure that the benefits are distributed fairly. African countries will be able to create their fair share of jobs and experience equitable distribution. Sustainable development should be built upon bilateral relationships rather than neocolonialism,” Klimov said.