On July 3, within the framework of the 2nd International Forum “Development of Parliamentarism”, a plenary meeting of the Russia-Africa parliamentary conference was held.
Following this link, you can find a text of the address of Chairman of the State Duma Viacheslav Volodin
Vyacheslav Victorovich The Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation of the eighth convocation. Elected in single mandate constituency № 163 (Saratov constituency - Saratov Oblast) .
Opening the parliamentary conference, the Deputy Chairwoman of the State Duma Olga Timofeeva
Olga Victorovna noted that the delegation of African countries is represented by 300 parliamentarians and 50 experts.
“It speaks of mutual interest and real rapprochement of our countries. We have a lot of common subjects (…), but today the number one issue is the quality of life of our voters, the citizens of our countries whom we represent,” she said.
Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Arab Republic of Egypt Ali Abdel Aal called Russia ”a reliable partner that you can count on in difficult times.“
“We know that Russian President Vladimir Putin pays attention to the development of relations between Russia and Africa,” said Ali Abdel Aal.
He noted that relations between Russia and African countries are developing in all directions. Economic cooperation is a priority but cooperation in the agricultural sector, humanitarian areas, and cooperation with young people are also developing, noted the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Egypt.
Strengthening relations has been and remains the priority of the work of the parliaments of Russia and African countries, he stressed.
Russia is an important player on the international arena
“Our presence at this conference confirms the strong bonds of friendship and solidarity that bind us together,” said President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Angola Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos.
He noted that Russia is an important player on the international arena.
”Russia plays a fundamental role in transforming the system of relations towards greater democratization,“ he added.
The fight against terrorism, drug trafficking, cybercrime, and climate change are the challenges that all countries are now facing, said Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos.
“These factors oblige us, lawmakers, to find new solutions,” said the President of the National Assembly of Angola.
Exchange of views for normalization of the situation
President of the Senate of the Republic of Burundi Révérien Ndikuriyo noted that the Forum “Development of Parliamentarism” allows developing solutions to economic, political, environmental and other problems. “Thanks to the exchange of views and ideas we will be able to normalize the situation,” he said.
Révérien Ndikuriyo spoke about the efforts of his country to establish democracy and the rule of law, maintain social and economic stability, sovereignty.
Together against terrorism
President of the National Assembly (Parliament) of Burkina Faso Alassane Bala Sakandé spoke about the problem of terrorism in his country.
“I hope that we have not made such a long way to Russia in vain. We want to be heard, because I speak on behalf of women, youth, children who cannot go to school in my country today, because they have been closed — about 1900 schools, 300,000 students are now on the streets. (…) I would like us to think together about these people as well. Today, Burkina Faso is a kind of dam that prevents terrorism from spreading to other countries. We must help other countries that are facing this threat,” he said.
He also stressed that “parliamentary cooperation should make our legislation homogeneous.”
The President of the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, Jeannot Ahoussou-Kouadio, thanked for the organization of the Second Forum “Development of Parliamentarism” and the Russia-Africa parliamentary conference.
“The Forum, in which we participate, allowed us to raise several important issues facing all African countries,” he stressed. Relations between Africa and Russia should develop in balance, and experience that Russia has in various fields can be useful to African countries, believes Jeannot Ahoussou-Kouadio.
The ability to strengthen ties
President of the National Assembly of Cape Verde Jorge Santos thanked Viacheslav Volodin for the invitation to the Forum and the Conference.
“This Russia-Africa Conference is another opportunity to strengthen our ties in order to prevent meaningful threats and make the world more equal,” he said.
“In the context of globalization, we should not forget about respecting fundamental human rights,” said the President of the National Assembly of Cape Verde.
Africa is waiting for Russian business
In his speech, the Chairman of the National Assembly of the Gabonese Republic, Faustin Boukoubi, stressed that ”Africa will strengthen its place on the international arena, and any strategic view that will not take into account the African continent will be mistaken.“
He urged Russian business to participate more actively in the economic life of the African continent in general and Gabon in particular, stressing that his country is hospitable and open.
“Russia and the State Duma are contributing to the promotion of an ideology of peace and development,” said Faustin Boukoubi.
Partnership, not dependency
Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana Aaron Mike Oquaye said: ”It is important for us to develop not a dependency paradigm but a partnership paradigm.“
According to him, the economy of the Republic largely depends on Western countries and the United States. “African countries cannot defend themselves against the US influence in the economic sphere,” said Mike Oquaye.
Therefore, Africa is looking for partners, especially in Russia, who will help it, including in the area of resource processing and industrial development, concluded the Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana.
“This will lead to real development,” he said.
Russia triumphantly returns to Africa
“After several years of decreasing intensity [of connections], Russia is triumphantly returning to the African continent. And let its return be active because our Russian friends have a whole series of proposals within the framework of economic cooperation,” said President of the National Assembly of Djibouti Mohamed Ali Houmed. There are also proposals in the field of education, infrastructure development, tourism, and many other areas. He believes that Russia should continue to promote its cooperation initiatives with African countries.
“The Parliament of Djibouti will create a “friendship group” with Russia in the nearest future, and I swear to do everything possible to make this group flourish,” said Mohamed Ali Houmed.
Unite despite the differences
The President of the National Assembly (of the Parliament) of the Central African Republic Laurent Ngon Baba noted that the Forum had helped parliamentarians ”to unite despite all the differences.“
At the same time, he stressed that “it is important to resolve conflicts with a help of negotiation process and dialogue.”
“Today, various conflicts continue to damage our society, and the issue of international security arises. Stability and the result, we hope for, are important. Stability and peace both at the regional and national levels,” said Laurent Ngon Baba.
Seeing the problems of the African continent
The President of the Senate of the Parliament of Equatorial Guinea Teresa Efua Asangono in her speech noted that the International Forum “Development of Parliamentarism” and the Parliamentary Conference “Russia-Africa”, being held within its framework, “allow us to learn from other nations”.
“Cooperation with Russia is very important for us,” said the parliamentarian, stressing that this cooperation should include various areas — economic, political and social.
Teresa Efua Asangono also supported the idea of holding the Conference “Russia-Africa” regularly, expressing her hope that the next meeting will take place on the African continent. “We want Russian people to come to Africa and see the problems we are facing,” said the President of the Senate of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea. According to her, these are the problems of the spread of terrorism, combating epidemics and dangerous diseases, the status of women on the continent and others.
“We look for help and parliamentary support of Russia to find a solution to these problems. And we hope that parliamentarians of all countries will be able to find a common language within the framework of the Conference “Russia-Africa,” Teresa Efua Asangono concluded.
Work in the interests of the nationals
The President of the National Assembly of Mali Issaka Sidibé emphasized that Africa should address challenges related to migration, education and the environment.
“We, the parliamentarians, should work for the benefit of the nationals,” he said. “Cooperation should be enhanced to eliminate inequality.”
He noted that the ongoing Conference helps to understand better the problems of Africa. “That’s why we want the Conference to be held annually,” added the President of the National Assembly of Mali.
Russia's leading role in the digital revolution
The Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Sierra Leone Abass Bundu stressed that the digital revolution is now taking place, and it “gives both opportunities and challenges that should be met and fought with.”
“No parliament, no region is able to do it alone, and that is why we are confident that cooperation is necessary,” he said. In addition, the parliamentarian said, “we believe that Russia, having a rich history of friendship and cooperation with Africa, will help us, so we urge Russia to play a leading role in the realization of opportunities and in addressing the challenges of the digital revolution.”
“We are absolutely confident that Russia will be able to play a decisive role in creating a legislative framework to address the challenges of the digital revolution,” said Abass Bundu.
Invitation to cooperate
The Speaker of the Senate of the Republic of Kenya Kenneth Lusaka stressed that his country is rich in natural resources — mineral and energy.
He also invited Russia to cooperate ”in particular in the field of mining and processing of mineral resources for mutual success.“
“Our interaction and cooperation in the area of culture, science and art is necessary to guarantee future generations life in peace,” said Kenneth Lusaka, stressing that “the role of parliamentarians in it is extremely important.”
Kenneth Lusaka also thanked Russia for strong support in the educational sphere and for scholarships for students who have the opportunity to study in Russia.
“We also need Russian support in the development of new technologies, in addressing climate change and countering terrorism,” he concluded.
The Speaker of the Upper House of the Federal Parliament of Somalia Abdi Hashi Abdullahi stated that “Africa is a very rich continent, the richest continent”. He noted that African countries have a huge agricultural potential, a huge amount of resources for economic development, and natural resources like gas, oil, minerals, that attract international investors.
The importance of technological breakthrough
Director of the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Irina Abramova spoke about the role of science in the development of cooperation between Russia and Africa. She noted that “without a technological breakthrough in ecology, health and education, we are not able to break our relations free from the deadlock and solve the problems that both the Russian people and the people of Africa are facing.” She also emphasized the role of education and academic science and training specialists for Africa. Irina Abramova believes that by training specialists, Russia contributes to future of Russian citizens and the people of Africa.
Exchange of best legislative practices
“Today, the world is facing increasing conflicts and tensions, that cause certain problems,” said the Vice-President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Guinea Luceny Fofana.
According to him, parliamentarians should work together to strengthen security, create a legislative framework for the digital economy, develop youth policy and share best legislative practices.
The Forum “Development of Parliamentarism” and the Conference “Russia-Africa” will help parliamentarians to find new solutions to problems for a long time, as Luceny Fofana believes.
“We should demonstrate the will to develop, to improve the living conditions of the population with a help of legal mechanisms,” he said.
New economic opportunities
The Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Zimbabwe Jacob Mudenda called on Russian business community to be “open to business cooperation with Africa.”
“Africa recognizes that Russia has transformed. (…) Africa is becoming the leading hub of business opportunities in such areas as agriculture, engineering, mining, the automotive industry, the chemical industry, etc.,” he stressed.
Jacob Mudenda noted that “Africa welcomes Russian strategic investments in the energy sector, in the utilization of natural resources,” and added that the Russian nuclear industry is a potential market for the electricity production necessary for the program of industrialization of Africa.
On July 2, parliamentarians worked at sections and round tables, where they discussed issues of legislative support for trade and economic cooperation between Russia and African countries, security cooperation as a factor of peace and stability in Africa, the parliamentary dimension of humanitarian cooperation between the Russian Federation and the African continent and other important issues.
Also earlier the Chairman of the State Duma Viacheslav Volodin held several bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the Forum with representatives of African parliaments, including with Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Arab Republic of Egypt Ali Abdel Aal, President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Angola Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos, Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Kingdom of Morocco Habib El Malki, , Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Zambia Patrick Matibini, President of the National Assembly of the Republic of the Congo Isidore Mvouba, Speaker of the House of Peoples' Representatives of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Tagesse Chaffo and Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Zimbabwe Jacob Mudenda.