According to foreign policy experts, in 2021 the volume of Russian-African trade increased for the first time since 2018, diversifying both geographically and in the range of goods traded. Shipments of railway equipment, fertilizers, pipes, high-tech equipment and aluminum are growing and work continues on institutionalizing the interaction between Russia and the African Union.
The second Russia-Africa Summit is planned for 2022. In February it will be announced where and when it will be held — most likely in Russia in November — and in which format. Preparations for the second summit will shape the Russian-African agenda, visits will become more frequent and Africa will receive greater coverage in Russian media.
Instead of measuring the success of the summit by how many African leaders attended, as happened in 2019, the parties will finally give greater attention to the substance of the agenda, which is already under development.
Russia will try to increase its presence in Africa while avoiding direct confrontation with other non-regional players.
A number of conflicts are also causing alarm, primarily those in Ethiopia and in Mali, from which France and the EU are withdrawing their troops. In 2022, Russia will try in various ways to play a stabilizing role for Africa and assist in confronting the main challenges it faces — epidemics, the spread of extremism and conflicts, and hunger.
A dialogue will also begin on Africa formulating its own climate agenda. Africa is beginning to understand that it does not need a European-style green agenda and will demand compensation from the main polluting countries for the damage the climatic changes have caused to the ecosystems of African countries. Russia is likely to support these demands.
Main image: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov meets with Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop. – MFA Russia / flickr.