But it developed an aggressive investment and trade plan with major infrastructure and economic cooperation projects, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, made up of 47 of the continent’s 54 countries. Russia, in turn, no longer enjoys the same strong ties as the Soviet era. But the latest Russian advances point to the reactivation of this historic relationship with former African “anti-imperialist”
allies and also to the expansion into new areas. Russia’s strategy was highlighted by the turn that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made last March in Namibia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Mozambique and Ethiopia, countries that, in the past, were under Soviet influence. In addition, the recent murder of three Russian journalists, who died in mysterious circumstances when investigating
Russian military presence in the Central African
Republic, has attracted new speculation about the Kremlin’s interests and possible clandestine operations in the African country. Chinese and Russian investments have different scalesImage copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionChinese bet on infrastructure projects, such as the construction of this railway in EthiopiaAt the moment, there is no open race to impose a brand on the African continent.
China and Russia have often competed for the same markets, but managed to deal with the rivalry in the name of a good relationship between the two countries. “This does not mean that there cannot be a confrontation in the future,” says Mikhail Smotryaev, of BBC News Russia, who has been working on the issue. China’s initiatives in Africa, he says, are relatively recent. The Chinese presence in the past could be considered insignificant compared to that of the Russians in the 1970s and 1980s.
- But things have changed. Trade between China and sub-Saharan Africa already moved about US $ 220 billion (R $ 903.2 billion) in 2014. The projections for 2020 is that it will
- reach US $ 350 billion, although in 2015 and 2016, the the amount of China’s import and export transactions in Africa has been below $ 200 billion. Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionIn March 2018,
Sergei Lavrov (left) toured several African countries, including MozambiqueEven so, the value forecast for 2020 would be one hundred times greater than that handled by Russia – the country’s commercial relations with the African continent reach the amount of US $ 3.6 billion. As a comparison, US trade with Africa has already moved US $ 30.5 billion in the first six months of this year, but the relationship between
Americans and Africans,
year after year, has been losing steam, according to government data American. In contrast, data attributed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) indicate that imports from China to Africa increased 233% from 2006 to 2016 and those from Russia, 142%. Exports of African products to these two countries also increased in the period. Mikhail Smotryaev notes that, due to different agreements and conditions, it is not easy to calculate the exact figures, but it is clear that
China invests much more in Africa than Russia. Suffocated by sanctions imposed by the West, the Russian economy has been in decline for some time and its reach is unmatched by that of the former Soviet Union. In this context, the country was motivated to be more aggressive in Africa. The Russian base is based mainly on the economic ties that have existed since Soviet times, and part of the negotiations is conditioned to support
Moscow’s policies within the United Nations (UN). Over the years, these African countries have accumulated a debt of $ 20 billion that Russia canceled in late 2012. It was more of a generosity strategy, said Vladimir Shubin, deputy director of the Institute for Africa in Moscow, in an interview with BBC News Russia. “At first, it’s a good thing. It creates more favorable conditions for our relations with Africa,” he said. Russia and China can compete for weapons and resource exploitation
These relations can be observed in the trade of a particular object
armaments. Russia is an important arms exporter in the world. In 2015, Africa accounted for 12% of the arms market. From an African point of view, 35% of weapons are Russian – and there is room for this trade to grow. Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionSoviet weapons have been used in conflicts in Africa for a long timeRussian weapons are competitive, because they are cheaper, have proven to be sufficiently reliable in numerous war conflicts and are compatible with the weapons used even during the Cold War.
- In the past five years, Russia has established a military equipment maintenance service and weapons modernization programs. For Mikhail
- Smotryaev, China and Russia could compete for this market. But according to experts, Chinese weapons account for almost two-thirds of African countries’ arsenal. There are also military agreements and
- Beijing has built a large military base in the Republic of Djibouti. Another potentially profitable sector is the exploitation of natural resources.
Although Russia is a rich country in this sense and dependent on exports, Moscow is interested in exploring diamonds, oil and rare metals in Africa. That is why it has financed mines, processing plants, a vehicle plant, notes Smotryaev. Now, it is looking to establish an aviation agreement with Zimbabwe, Angola, Congo and Senegal, in exchange for agricultural products. Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionRussian companies participate in gold mining in
AfricaChina, as a major consumer of hydrocarbons and other natural resources, is more dependent on exploration agreements to achieve a steady trade flow. To this end, it invested large sums and efforts in infrastructure, such as railroads, dams, oil pipelines and roads, and established companies that operate in partnership with several countries. In 2006, an agreement to obtain exploration licenses in Nigeria in exchange for a multimillion dollar investment in oil and infrastructure projects was a milestone for China in securing energy supply and trade agreements in the region.
At the same time as Nigeria supplies the oil and gas Beijing needs, it opens up a market for Chinese products. Chinese companies have started operating factories in Nigeria, and many others are expected to open in the free trade zone located in the southwest of the country. China has also sent its own workforce to run infrastructure works in several countries in Africa. For example, Nigeria sent 11,000 workers to build a rail network.
- “China is not in a hurry, it does things almost in stages, almost invisibly.”
- “China sees Africa as a continent of opportunities”,
- To expand China’s geopolitical influence
- Disintermediation – as a consequence of the ubiquity of information technology
- Laicism and other exaggerations about the First Republic