On January 25, the Valdai Club hosted an expert discussion on the topic “Russia and South Africa: Is Africa closer than it seems?”
Bilateral relations between Russia and the Republic of South Africa have evolved into a partnership characterised by mutual respect in recent years. Cooperation between the two countries is being implemented on all tracks - both at the official diplomatic level, and through NGOs and in the economic sphere. The countries have great potential for expanding cooperation and the trade turnover. For example, in January, for the first time in 30 years, direct deliveries of fruit from South Africa to Russia by sea resumed.
South Africa is a key partner for Russia in the broader African context as well. One of the priorities for Russia's foreign policy strategy is to7 strengthen dialogue and cooperation with the African Union and the countries of the continent. In July, St. Petersburg will host the second Russia-Africa summit, in which South Africa has already confirmed its participation.
The potential for bilateral cooperation remains significant amid the new geopolitical conditions. Despite the fact that a number of companies in South Africa have refused to cooperate with Russia due to Western sanctions, Pretoria has repeatedly stated that it is pursuing an independent policy and does not intend to implement anti-Russian sanctions at the state level. South Africa has taken a balanced position on the Ukrainian crisis.
An important aspect of cooperation between Russia and South Africa is interaction in international organisations operating in the global space. An example of such cooperation is BRICS, where Russia and South Africa are developing common approaches to a value policy aimed at building a just world based on the principles of non-discrimination and equality between all participants, against neo-colonialism. Also, Russia and South Africa cooperate in other global international platforms, such as the UN and G20.
How can one characterise the current relations between Russia and South Africa? In what areas is cooperation between the two countries most promising? How will Russia's interaction with the African continent as a whole develop? Participants of the expert discussion answered these and other questions.
- Mikatekiso Kubayi, Researcher, Institute for Global Dialogue associated with UNISA; Research Fellow, Institute for Pan African Thought and Conversation
- Andrei Maslov, Director, Centre for African Studies, HSE University
- Rasigan Maharajh, Chief Director of the Institute for Economic Research in Innovation at the Tswane Technical University (South Africa)
- Oleg Ozerov, Ambassador-at-Large of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Head of the Secretariat of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum
- Nathalia Zaiser,Chairman of the Board of the African Business Initiative Union
Working languages: Russian, English.