Close to 50 African leaders were expected to be in Russia’s Black Sea city of Sochi for the first ever Russia – Africa forum, the Kremlin announced weeks back.
The forum expected to run between October 23 – 24 event is part of Moscow’s ambitious push for influence and business in Africa.
The Russians have by this move joined a field that includes the United States, China, Japan and to a large extent the United Kingdom and France.
Over a twenty African presidents, vice presidents, Prime Ministers, Ministers and other government representatives are currently in Sochi as the forum starts. Amongst them are:
- Alpha Conde, Guinea
- Filipe Nyusi, Mozambique
- Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria
- Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa
- Peter Mutharika, Malawi
- Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Mali
- Teodoro Obiang Nguema, Equatorial Guinea
- Roch Marc Kabore, Burkina Faso
- Yoweri Museveni, Uganda
- Paul Kagame, Rwanda
- Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Ghana
- Julius Maada Bio, Sierra Leone
- Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe
- Andry Rajoelina, Madagascar
- Adama Barrow, The Gambia
- Mohamed Cheik El Ghouzani, Mauritania
- Mohamed Abdulahi Farmaajo, Somalia
- Idris Deby Itno, Chad
- Abdul Fattah al-Burhan, Sudan
- Abdelkader Bensaleh, Algeria
- Denis Sassou Nguesso, Republic of Congo
- Hage Geingob, Namibia
- Fayez Serraj, Libya
- Ismail Omar Guelleh, Djibouti
- Joao Manuel Lourenco, Angola
- Faustin Archange Touadera, Central African Republic
- Jewel Howard Taylor, Liberia vice-president
- Julien Nkoghe, Gabon Prime Minister
- Kassim Majaliwa, Tanzania Prime Minister
- Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia Prime Minister
- Osman Saleh, Eritrea Foreign Affairs Minister
For Moscow, the prize is greater political influence on a continent with 54 United Nations member states, sprawling mineral wealth, and potentially lucrative markets for Russian-manufactured weapons.
The world’s largest wheat exporter, Russia is also looking to ramp up its supplies of grain and fertilizer to meet demand that is rising in step with Africa’s booming population.