Russia's Africa Venture

Russia in Review is a weekly intelligence summary (INTSUM) produced by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). This ISW INTSUM series sheds light on key trends and developments related to the Russian government’s objectives and its efforts to secure them. Receive future Russia in Review INTSUM products via-email by signing up for the ISW mailing list.

Author: Darina Regio

Key TakeawayThe Kremlin continues to develop closer military, economic, and political ties with African states as part of its campaign to mitigate sanctions and compete with the West. Russia hosted two major forums focused on cooperation with African states in mid-2019 ahead of the upcoming Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi in October 2019. The Kremlin used these forums to deepen its bilateral relations and multilateral engagement with states across Africa. The U.S. should work to compete more actively with Russia in Africa through greater economic engagement and a robust information campaign stressing the small scope and self-serving nature of Russia’s engagements in Africa. 

The Kremlin is intensifying its outreach to African leaders ahead of a planned Russia-Africa Summit in October 2019. Russia hosted two major forums focusing on Africa in mid-2019: the Russia-Africa Economic Summit on June 20 - 22 and the Russia-Africa Inter-Parliamentary Forum on July 1 - 3.[1] The Russian Security Council hosted delegations from Africa at the Ufa Security Conference on June 18 - 20.[2] The Russian Defense Ministry also invited many African leaders to its Army-2019 Forum on June 25 - 30.[3] The forums featured a number of senior officials including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, and Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Director Sergey Naryshkin. The Kremlin routinely uses international forums as a platform to foster personal high-level relations and state-to-state partnerships across the globe.[4]

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