The plenary session “Russia-Africa in a Multipolar World” was held at the State Duma as part of the events of the Second International Parliamentary Conference “Russia-Africa”.
The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin addressed the Conference participants at the plenary session. The President of the Russian Federation stressed that Russia had always given and would continue to give priority to cooperation with African countries.
“I would like to emphasize that our country has always given and will continue to give priority to cooperation with African states. It would not be an exaggeration to say that this is one of the invariable priorities of Russian foreign policy,” Vladimir Putin said.
“Representatives of almost all states of the continent are participating in the Conference. Taking into account the fact that there are legislators who are meant to express the will of their voters in their countries, to work in the interests of their fellow citizens, your visit is evidence of the interest of the nations of Africa in active development of comprehensive mutually beneficial relations with Russia,” stressed the President of the Russian Federation.
Russia and African countries stood against neocolonial ideology imposed by foreign states, as he added.
“We are convinced that Africa will become one of the leaders of the emerging new multipolar world order, as there are all objective prerequisites for that,” said the head of state.
“Today, the African continent plays an important role in solving global and regional
problems. And it will only increase,” said the Chairman of the State Duma Vyacheslav
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) and added that Russia and African countries “are equal allies and partners”.
“Our relations have always been built on a disinterested basis, on the principles of mutual respect and non-interference in internal affairs. For our country, the African continent has never been the subject of mercantile interest, the use of labor and raw materials, and we cannot say the same about the United States of America and European states,” stressed the Chairman of the State Duma.
According to him, Washington and Brussels are seeking to take control of Russian and African natural resources. “In fact, they are still pursuing the colonial policy. They take any measures, including forceful and terrorist, for their own benefit,” said the Chairman of the State Duma.
“Washington should not lecture us how to build relations, make friends and make plans for the future,” stressed Vyacheslav Volodin.
The Chairman of the State Duma also proposed to hold the Parliamentary Conference “Russia-Africa” annually. “Parliaments should use their opportunities to bring relations between our countries to a higher level,” he said.
Compensation for damage caused during the colonial period
Russia had always supported African countries in their national liberation struggle “against colonialism and illegal occupation,” as said the Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko. “The role of African states in the global economy and in the international arena is growing, but Western countries do not want to “change their neocolonialism mentality,” she added. In particular, the problem of paying compensation for damage caused during the colonial period has not yet been resolved.
“I think that it is necessary to raise loudly the issue of compensating damage, I mean financial payments to all the people in Africa who suffered during the colonial period from European oppressors, from the consequences of colonialism,” stressed Valentina Matvienko.
According to her, the current time incudes global, tectonic shifts in the world system. “The world is throwing off the remnants of the shackles of colonial dependence and moving towards real multipolarity, a more just world order. And it is hard, impossible to imagine new world without Africa,” said Valentina Matvienko.
Points of view of African parliamentarians
The President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Benin Louis Gbèhounou Vlavonou noted the importance of holding such events like the International Parliamentary Conference: “It demonstrates the will of our countries and the Russian Federation to achieve new horizons and develop cooperation between your vast country and the vast African continent.”
“Our common task is to stop any armed conflict and establish peace,” said Louis Gbèhounou Vlavonou. “We believe that cooperation between African countries and the Russian Federation is the most important factor in global cooperation,” he added.
The President of the Transitional Legislative Assembly of Burkina Faso Ousmane Bougouma emphasized that his country had to face such a problem as terrorism, like Russia had also faced that problem.
“We understand that security is an indivisible common good. That is why we have decided to start cooperation with Russia, while maintaining our sovereignty. This is a key partnership for security in our country,” said Ousmane Bougouma. According to him, this is important because the people of Burkina Faso want to live in peace.
The President of the National Council of the Transition of the Republic of Guinea Dansa Kourouma stressed that the Conference was aimed at solving many important issues for African countries. “We understand that all these problems affect the situation on the African continent, and to overcome these challenges, we need cooperation, new technologies, help of our great partners, such as the Russian Federation,” he added.
The parliamentarian is convinced that African countries should take their special place in the multipolar world. “The people of African countries have a role to play,” he concluded.
“Russia is a powerful country, Russians are great people. Russia has a great President and statesman,” said the President of the National People’s Assembly of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau Cipriano Cassamá. “We are always on his side, we stand with him, because we see that President Vladimir Putin, the Russian people, in any conditions continue providing support to other countries. And we will be together with Russia,” the parliamentarian stressed.
The Speaker of the National Assembly of the Parliament of Zimbabwe Jacob Mudenda is convinced that the Conference has confirmed the role of parliaments and their ability to facilitate the transition to a multipolar world.
“Our parliamentary diplomacy should be aimed at creating a sustainable multipolar world,” he said.
In addition, Jacob Mudenda proposed changing the composition of the UN Security Council: there should be representatives of every world continent.
According to Jacob Mudenda, the unipolar world, which “was pleasing the United States of America, has turned out to be an illusion.” He added that Roman, British and Ottoman empires had once ceased to exist.
The President of the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Congo Pierre Ngolo recalled: “Relations between Russia and Africa became special during the period of struggle for independence, when the Soviet Union was the main force supporting the national liberation movements. Thus, the USSR became the defender of the oppressed.”
“Then it was the USSR, and now it is Russia taking a special place among the friends of Congo in difficult times,” added Pierre Ngolo. He also agreed that the most important thing should be maintaining the multipolar world, as it was in the interests of our countries.
The Chairman of the National Council of the Republic of Namibia Lukas Sinimbo Muha said that his country would always be grateful to Russia and appreciate its support. He, like Jacob Mudenda, spoke in favor of changing the UN Security Council composition and including representatives of the African continent. “The permanent historical imbalance in the Security Council must be changed,” he said.
Lukas Sinimbo Muha is convinced that Africa should take part in the global decision-making processes. “We can no longer let a unipolar or bipolar format influence the world agenda and remain the only center of power,” he concluded.
“We need real sovereignty. Today we take responsibility and say that we do not want to cooperate with the former colonialists that are trying to interfere in our internal affairs, acting in their own interests,” said the President of the National Transitional Council of the Republic of Mali Malick Diaw.
According to him, Russia could be a serious partner, reliable and sincere. The Malian people would never forget the support that Russia provided when the neocolonial countries tried to weaken us, as added Malick Diaw.
The Speaker of the National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe Celmira de Almeida do Sacramento dos Santos Lourenço drew attention to the historical relations with Russia, which had always supported African countries in their struggle for independence, in the formation of the country's personnel potential.
“We should note the large investments of the Russian Federation on the African continent in the construction of a railway structure, telecommunications infrastructure, the supply of equipment for the mining industry, and agricultural equipment,” added the parliamentarian.
According to her, there is lack of the right policy for managing the available resources on the continent and that stops the progress.
The President of the National Assembly of the Central African Republic Simplice Mathieu Sarandji asked the Chairman of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin to convey to the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin the words of greeting from the leader of the Central African Republic Faustin-Archange Touadéra.
He also supported Vyacheslav Volodin that the current paradigm of a unipolar world requires urgent revision. “Why did not we break it earlier? Are African countries unable to use their own natural resources and wealth?” he wondered.
The Chairman of South Africa's National Council of Provinces Amos Masondo said that “Russia has no colonial heritage in Africa and no African country sees Russia as an enemy. On the contrary, you helped us in our liberation, you are a reliable partner.”
He stressed that his country stood for a multipolar world.
“Political diversity is a guarantee of strength and realization of our potential, a solution to the challenges that we are facing at the regional, continental and international levels,” said Amos Masondo.
The Speaker of the National Assembly of the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula emphasized that many countries were facing very aggressive sanctions and other methods of control.
“Of course, such decisions are not made in the interests of ordinary, average citizens. The imposition of such sanctions is definitely one of the flagrant violations of human rights,” she added.
According to her, “during the many decades of colonialism and Africa still continues to be a continent suffering from exploitation and draining of resources and wealth. That is why Africa needs an honest, fair and balanced counterpart.”
On 19–20 March 2023, the State Duma hosts the Second International Parliamentary Conference “Russia – Africa” in Moscow.
More than 40 official parliamentary delegations from almost all African countries take part in the Conference. Representatives of the scientific, educational and expert communities from Russia and African countries, members of the State Duma, federal executive authorities, senators of the Federation Council, chairmen of the legislative bodies of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, representatives of the business community also take part in the events of the Conference.
The objectives of the Conference are to strengthen parliamentary cooperation with African countries in the conditions of formation of a multipolar world, to develop relations and develop common approaches to legal regulation in the economy, science and education and security.
On March 19, on the first day of the Conference, there were held the following round tables:
- Parliamentary Support of Scientific and Educational Cooperation
- Legislative Response to Economic Challenges
- Indivisible Security: Capabilities and Contributions of Parliaments
- Neocolonialism of the West: How to Prevent the Repetition of History.
On March 19, there was also held a business breakfast with participation of the parliamentary delegations of African states and Russian business representatives.
On March 20, there will be held a plenary session of the International Parliamentary Conference entitled “Russia-Africa in the multipolar world”.
As part of the events of the Conference, the Chairman of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin held bilateral meetings with several heads of delegations, speakers of parliaments and chambers of parliaments of African countries.
The Conference is planned to be held just few months before the Second Russia-Africa Summit, which is planned to be held on July 2023 in Saint Petersburg.
The First International Conference “Russia – Africa” was held in Moscow in 2019.