For Russia, Africa is not and has never been an opportunistic topic, a fallback option, always remaining a strategic area of international cooperation.
At any time and under any ideology, this continent was in the center of Moscow’s attention. At present, the volume of Russian-African contacts is objectively less than it was under the Soviet Union. But this is understandable, because the Russian Federation is not the “Soviet Union”, such a comparison is simply naive.
On the eve of the preparation of the Second Summit, as well as the Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum, which will be held in St. Petersburg at the end of July, the world community can just make sure that the first such summit was not a political conjuncture, a passing number. This is a systemic direction for Russia for decades to come. The forum’s program, covering all areas of interaction, clearly proves this. Russian economy is naturally based on a humanitarian basis, taking into account the vast historical experience of Russian-African cooperation, as well as a large share of the knowledge of the Russian language by Africans.
Some, mainly Western, world mass media, approach Africa as a whole too narrowly, if not worse. They replicate the point of view that the leaders of African states allegedly need only one thing: money, money, money, and as much as possible. That supposedly African countries have no difference where to ask for them, in Moscow or Washington. This approach to Africa is insulting in itself, especially since it itself, which has a huge share of the wealth of our planet, has something to offer its partners. For this reason, Africa in the West can take money from the West, but its heart does not belong to him. Moreover, they do not give clean money to Africa there, but offer loans that drive the continent into more and more debts.
Humanity, as you know, began its journey on Earth from Africa, where the first artifacts appeared, indicating a high level of culture at that moment. You don’t have to go far to make sure: People from Africa, people with African roots are the ancestors of almost all styles of modern music, from blues to rap. This humanitarian trump card is not beaten by anything. Therefore, Africa itself is able to look at and determine with whom to make friends, to build long-term relationships.
No dirt sticks to Africa, including the strange stories of the same Western press that “cannibals” allegedly go to official meetings in Russia. The comments that Russian representatives are met at African airports by “savages with primitive drums” also look wild. Folklore everywhere directly reflects the ancient traditions and the soul of the people, not only in Africa. And it is not recommended to laugh at the culture of the peoples of the whole continent at all, because this is pure racism. According to theses of this quality, it is clearly noticeable that someone really wants to resist Russian-African cooperation, but there is simply nothing.
The upcoming event in St. Petersburg also has a bright symbolic connotation: six decades ago, in 1963, the Organization of African Unity was formed, which later became the African Union, which gained authority throughout the world. Today it can be stated that the Eurasian and African Unions are entering a new, intercontinental level of cooperation, the Afro-Eurasian arc. In the sense of symbols, another detail is also interesting: the flag of the African Union has a green, not a black background. For some reason, Africa has always been associated with black, as in particular on the flag of the Olympic Committee. But today a lot is changing, including the template perception of basic meanings.
It is time for the world to move away from other patterns, including demonstrative, overly intrusive in the media charitable assistance to the “starving children of Africa”. Africa, in principle, should not be an eternally starving continent, which is why such summits and forums as Russia-Africa are needed. With the right approach, Africa itself can feed the whole world, taking into account its climate, in which, unlike cold and so-called civilized countries, almost everything grows. The participants of the economic part of the forum should set such global goals for themselves.
After 1991, Russia became noticeably lacking in Africa. Many of Moscow’s current partners, taking into account the disappearance of the USSR, starting with China and Turkey, have established cooperation with Africa. However, all countries, as people, have their own temper, character. In some ways, as partners, they turned out to be better than the Soviet Union, in some ways they fell short of its breadth and qualities. But now there is an opportunity to unite the efforts of all the true friends of Africa – Russia, China, Turkey and others – to reach a new level of integration and cooperation. Africa will not be fed up with “stars” charity concerts alone. It requires long, difficult and systematic work, with which this “green” continent can start a new historical era. Russia is giving Africa the green light again.