Ethiopia Wednesday hosted a round table dedicated to the Second Russia – Africa Summit and Economic and Humanitarian Forum.
The main topic of discussion was trade and economic cooperation and social and humanitarian partnership between Russia and Africa.
The prospects for the development of Russian-African economic and social partnership relations were on the table.
Speakers included Evgeny Terekhin, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to Ethiopia; Igor Morozov, Chairman of the Coordinating Committee for Economic Cooperation with African Countries (AFROCOM); Ilya Nesterov, Head of the Foreign Relations Department of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation; NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber; Ekaterina Kiseleva, Deputy General Director for Development of Kundalinik; Alexander Makarov, General Director of TraceCORE LLC; Elena Myakotnikova, Director of the “Climate Initiatives and Carbon Regulation” function of SIBUR. In total, participants from 25 African countries joined the event.
“The Russia–Africa Summit is an event that plays a key role in the development of Russian-African relations. It is thanks to this format of interaction that we will be able to achieve a qualitatively new level of mutually beneficial partnership as soon as possible which is capable of meeting the challenges of the 21st century,” Evgeny Terekhin, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to Ethiopia, pointed out.
The forthcoming summit will contribute to the strengthening of comprehensive and equal cooperation between Russia and African countries in all its dimensions including politics, security, economy, science, technology, culture and humanitarian practice.
Areas of focus include agriculture, education, energy resources and digitalization of the economy.
“The digitalization of Africa attracts special attention of Russians. We live in a digital world and, undoubtedly, the future of civilization lies with the digital economy. Digital transformation has been carried out in all regions of Russia for 20 years. Russia has the world’s best B2B, B2C digital platforms, product and educational service labeling, and Moscow has become the best city in the world in terms of living comfort and digitalization of the services offered. Only Toronto and Singapore are in the top three. We certainly have something to share with our African partners, especially since they are already ready for a new experience: the African Continental Free Trade Area has begun to operate, many countries of the continent, including Ethiopia, are creating science and technology parks and IT clusters,” Igor Morozov, Chairman of the Coordinating Committee for Economic Cooperation with African Countries (AFROCOM), said.
Andrey Gutorov, Foreign Partnership Advisor to the General Director of JSC UCC Uralchem, said that the Uralchem-Uralkali Group intends to provide about 300 thousand tons of fertilizers to developing countries (predominantly in Africa) absolutely free of charge.
This initiative is focused on famine relief “The Uralchem-Uralkali Group is determined to strengthen its positions in Africa. At present, our company is one of the main suppliers of Russian fertilizers to the African continent. Uralchem is taking an innovative approach in Africa that is not just to sell fertilizers, but also transfer up-to-date technologies for their proper use, including the training of qualified personnel. Such a strategy of mutually beneficial cooperation will allow African states to increase agricultural productivity, create new jobs and provide the people with food staples,” Andrey Gutorov emphasized.
As part of the round table, TraceCORE LLC presented its most advanced solutions in digitalization of the economy, which help increase tax revenues by reducing the tax gap and reducing the black and informal economy.
“The result of the implementation of such solutions will be a reduction in the VAT gap, an increase in tax collection in the b2b segment by 150% across the country. In addition, VAT revenues in the b2c segment will increase by 165%, and the black economy will be reduced by at least 30% in certain product groups, the country will be able to receive millions of new taxpayers,” Alexander Makarov, General Director of TraceCORE LLC, said. He said the new solutions could cover Ethiopia’s missing tax gaps, boost GDP and help pay off $55 billion of the current government debt in up to 10 years.
Ekaterina Kiseleva, Deputy General Director for Development of Kundalinik, emphasized the special role of the education system in the economy of each country, and noted that digital transformation must include the digitalization of education:
“Creating a digital education ecosystem provides the country with countless opportunities for schools, students, parents and the government. Thanks to it, a single system is formed with the most efficient configuration of internal processes and monitoring and analysis tools. In addition, the digital divide is reduced, equal access to knowledge is provided for children throughout the country, time and budget savings are ensured, while the educational process becomes stable and continuous. The latter is especially useful during pandemics.”
Elena Myakotnikova, Director of the Climate Initiatives and Carbon Regulation function of SIBUR, said again that when entering new markets, SIBUR always analyzes the risks associated with the current or planned regulation in sustainable development.
According to her, the African market, which is of interest to the company in terms of the supply of petrochemical products and where SIBUR is developing its presence, has interesting ESG practices both among businesses and at the state level.
“Our sustainable development strategy until 2025 covers all key areas of the ESG agenda, including work in the field of climate impact reduction. We are ready to exchange experience with colleagues and contribute to the well-being of the African region,” Elena Myakotnikova summed up.
The Second Russia-Africa Summit and the Economic and Humanitarian Forum will be held in St. Petersburg at the Expoforum Convention and Exhibition Center from July 27 to 28, 2023.
The events are focused on the comprehensive strengthening of Russian-African cooperation and are intended to determine the trajectory of the development of Russia’s long-term relations with African countries.
The Program of the forum includes more than 30-panel discussions and thematic events on the most important issues of interaction between Russia and African states.
Reporting by Margaret Kalekye