Putin calls for doubling Russia-Africa trade in 4-5 yrs

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-23 23:42:32|Editor: yan
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SOCHI, Russia, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday called on Russia and Africa to double bilateral trade to over 40 billion U.S. dollars in the next four to five years.

Putin said that Russian-African trade more than doubled in the last five years to exceed 20 billion dollars, which he thought was "too little," while speaking at the plenary session of the first Russia-Africa Economic Forum here.

"I believe that it is within our power to at least double the volume of trade in the next four to five years," said Putin during his meeting with state leaders, other senior officials and business people from Russia and Africa.

With Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi sitting in the audience, Putin said in his speech that Egypt is Russia's major trading partner in Africa, while there are many other potential partners "with good development prospects and huge room for growth."

He noted that integration processes developing in Africa represent additional opportunities for cooperation between Russia and Africa.

Russia will do its utmost to link African free trade zones with the Eurasian Economic Union through expanding trade missions and providing support to businesses, Putin said.

Putin said African countries are attracting more attention from Russian businesses largely due to the fact that the continent is becoming a global economic growth center with its total GDP expected to reach 29 trillion dollars in 2050.

He said that many Russian companies have worked successfully with African partners across various sectors and are determined to increase their presence in Africa.

"Russia is going to support such plans from the state level," Putin said, adding that economic cooperation is an integral and priority component in Russia's relations with African countries.

He said that Russian companies together with the country's Economic Development Ministry have prepared for the forum a series of mutually beneficial cooperation projects in oil, gas, nuclear energy, mineral mining, agriculture and high technologies.

"The development of close business ties meets our common interests, contributes to the sustainable growth of all our states, helps to improve the quality of people's lives and solves numerous social problems," he said.

Sisi, who currently chairs the African Union, said Africa should learn from Russia.

"We confirm the importance of holding this forum, the results of which will contribute to the development of the capacities of the African countries," he said.

The Russia-Africa Economic Forum is taking place alongside the first Russia-Africa Summit on Wednesday and Thursday in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.

A set of trade, economic and investment agreements is expected to be signed during the forum.