Russia pledges support  to Africa’s economy

PRIME  Minister  Kassim Majaliwa  has said that  Russia  government has pledged to  collaborate with African nations,  including  Tanzania  to improve the economy of the  continent.

“The focus of our today’s (Friday) meeting was to see on how we can improve the economy of African countries by collaborating with Russia… the country has given its direction on how it will cooperate with African nations to improve the economy of each respective country, and Tanzania has also presented its economic strategy that Russia President Vladimir Putin has approved,” he said.

The Premier reveled that on Friday shortly after concluding the second Russia-Africa Summit between Africa Heads of States and Government and Russia government where Majaliwa represented President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

The summit was held at Expo Forum Convention and Exhibition Centre in St Petersburg, Russia.

Majaliwa said that Tanzania will continue to strengthen transport infrastructure  with the aim of  improving the economy and trade  by using its own resources  including minerals, natural resources  and agriculture given the goods availability of fertiliser.

“We have also put emphasis on the use of alternative energy as crucial way of empowering rural residents so that they can afford the renewable energy and promote the growth of their economy,” Majaliwa said.

He said another area is to promote crop trade between Africa and Russia, with the Asian nation becoming a direct market or use its friends.

“In order to attain the plans, each country has been emphasised to direct more efforts on agriculture. Tanzania has presented its strategy of promoting agricultural growth, including irrigation farming … we also need enough fertiser, pesticides and tools so that we can succeed,” the PM said.

Majaliwa informed the African leaders on President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s strategy of providing fee-free education and provision of teaching materials in order to relieve parents from the burden on covering education cost of their children.

Earlier while opening the meeting, Russia President Vladmiri Putin    said African countries have been relating well with Russia for a long time, and thus the country has continued to provide support in various areas without any obstacles.

Giving an example he said 40 countries from Africa have benefited from military support including training.

“The close relations between African and Russia is becoming stronger …we expect to open our embassies in other African countries such as Burkina Faso and Equatorial Guinea. We also plan to reinstate Russia cultural centres that are in four countries only currently.”

President Putin said his country will continue providing support   in agriculture sector to strengthen food availability … “that is why yesterday I pledged to provide between 25,000 and 50,000 tonnes of cereals to six countries and will be transported for free.” .

The countries which will benefit from the cereal support are

Mali, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Central Republic, Eritrea and Somalia.

He said Russia plans to provide 90 million US dollars to African countries depending on the applications which will be received by the African Union (AU).

Contributing to the deliberations during the summit, Comoro President Azali Assoumani who is also AU Chairman and Co-Chair of the summit said that African youth are competent in various fields, saying what they  need is  capital for start-up programmes.

“There is an issue of providing training and digital technology which Russia has been endowed… we need to have a comprehensive plan which will build capacity  to many  African youth,” he said.

For his part, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni said at the end of the summit that African leaders should come up with policy statement which will require foreign nations to buy processed products from Africa instead of raw crops.

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa said that it is high time other nations accepted that African nations have started to shape their own destiny, seconding President Museveni’s views of African countries to stop exporting   unprocessed crops.

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