Interview by H.E. Mr. Evgeny Terekhin, Ambassador of Russia in Ethiopia
Interview to TASS News Agency
1. The Sochi Russia-Africa Summit opens a new chapter in relations between the Russian Federation and African countries. What, in your opinion, is its significance both for the participants and for the rest of the world?
The Russia-Africa Summit is indeed an unprecedented event in the history of our relations with the continent. Such a large-scale event, that would bring together the majority of African leaders, experts, and representatives of the business community at one venue, has never been organized. Therefore, the Summit opens up a unique opportunity for Russia and the countries of Africa to bring partnership to a qualitatively higher level, to discuss many ideas and plans for building up cooperation. Undoubtedly, the Sochi event will lay the foundation for a new architecture of relations between Russia and Africa, which along with the traditional principles of mutual respect, non-interference in internal affairs, and mutual benefit would record the rejection of ideological dividing lines, the rejection of dictatorship and the imposition of unilateral decisions in international relations.
2. What can African states learn fr om modern Russia, and what can Russia learn from them?
Russia can give a lot to African countries: from the digital economy and information technology to assistance in the fight against terrorism. The interaction in the field of advanced technologies, including the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, medicine, agriculture, research and higher education is very promising. Russia can also share the integration experience gained in the Eurasian space, given that the African Union is committed to regional economic integration.
Africa can open up new political and economic partnerships for Russia. We are interested in developing multifaceted cooperation with African states in the international arena on a wide range of issues, in developing genuine partner’s and mutually beneficial economic cooperation, in joining efforts in the face of common global problems and challenges - from climate change to countering terrorism and extremism.
3. What are two areas of cooperation wh ere you can achieve rapid progress on specific projects between Russia and Ethiopia?
At the moment, we are observing an increase in interest from Russian companies towards Ethiopia. The largest bilateral project is the agreement between the government of the FDRE and the Russian state corporation “Rosatom” on the peaceful use of nuclear energy, which we plan to sign in Sochi. With its entry into force, broad prospects for cooperation in agriculture, medicine and energy will be opened. A major practical step in this direction could be the creation of a center for nuclear research in the Ethiopian territory.
The state corporation “Russian Railways” is also interested in the possibility of participating in infrastructure projects. Ethiopia is critically lacking in quality infrastructure, which is why difficulties arise both in agriculture and industry, and in tourism. In this regard, the construction of railways in the country remains a priority and is a very promising direction.
Ethiopia, like most African countries, is an agrarian country, but agricultural productivity and its manufacturability remain low. Some private Russian companies are interested in the supply of agricultural equipment, fertilizers, as well as the transfer of technological experience and the organization of assembly plants here.