St Petersburg University lecturer Valence Maniragena: Russia and Africa need a direct dialogue


Valence Maniragena noted the following: when it comes to relations between Russia and Africa, the question always arises of how the exchange between the parties is developing. ’Russia has the opportunity to participate in the development of infrastructure, for example, of railways, which Africa needs. Such activities could be developed in cooperation with various African states,’ the expert said. Moreover, according to Valence Maniragena, the prevailing opinion that African countries need other states’ help is not entirely true. Africa also has something to offer its partners. Thus, cooperation should develop on equal terms, the speaker concluded.

The information presented in Russia about Africa is mainly data obtained from Western media. Probably, Africa also receives information about Russia from the same Western sources. In order to cooperate, we need to know each other well enough.

Valence Maniragena, Assistant Professor in the Department of African Studies at St Petersburg University

For that, according to the expert, a direct dialogue is needed.

In Soviet times, as Valence Maniragena recalled, many representative offices of Russian media functioned in African countries. Today, there are no such bureaus in Africa. ’It is a big loss for our cooperation,’ the expert admitted. ’Nevertheless, I hope that, since we meet with the leaders of African states and Russia, we will come to a point where the cooperation of individual countries with Russia and cooperation of Russia with the African continent in general will be fruitful and mutually enriching.’

The conference ’Russia and African Countries: Established Traditions of Interaction and Prospects for Cooperation in a New World’ was held for the first time. The organisers are planning to make it a regular event. ’I hope this forum will be permanent, the same as the forums that we hold with the Middle East, the Asian region and Central Asia. And Africa will take not an ordinary, but the most important place in this series of events,’ said Fyodor Lukyanov, Research Director of the Valdai Discussion Club.

St Petersburg University will take part in the largest event dedicated to Russia’s cooperation with the countries of the African continent, the Russia − Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum.

The discussion was also attended by: Andrey Bystritskiy, Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club; Oleg Ozerov, Ambassador-at-Large of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Head of the Secretariat of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum; Ivan Timofeev, General Director of the Russian International Affairs Council, Programme Director of the Valdai Discussion Club; Aliu Tunkara, Member of the Mali Parliament, former head of the African diasporas in St Petersburg ‘African Unity’ (Mali); and Mikatekiso Kubayi, Research Fellow at the Institute of Pan-African Thought and Dialogue (South Africa).


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