Russian businesses in the Moscow region should take advantage of investment opportunities in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Executive Secretary of SADC, Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, has said.
Lucrative opportunities exist in SADC’s value chains such as agro-processing, energy, pharmaceuticals, mineral beneficiation and manufacturing of various commodities for domestic and export markets. This is at the back of the Region’s secure, peaceful and stable investment environment.
Dr Tax made the call on 19th March 2021 during the Moscow-Africa 2021 conference held under the theme, “Directions and Opportunities for Industrial and Investment Cooperation”, a platform initiated by the Department of Investment and Industrial Policy of Moscow to identify the directions and possibilities of industrial and investment cooperation between Russian and sub-Saharan African companies. The teleconference, in which Dr Tax was one of the panel discussants, was the first of the Moscow-Africa annual cycle. SADC Member States also participate in the Russia-Africa Summit, an annual platform which is used to share information on investment opportunities and investment climate in the Region.
Dr Tax urged companies in Moscow to explore investment opportunities in industrialization, which is one of the key priority focal areas for the Region. She highlighted that in line with the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063, the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063 seeks to achieve economic and technological transformation through among others, presenting opportunities for investments and partnering with the private sector, both domestic and international.
She further highlighted opportunities under the SADC Free Trade Area, the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) markets given the rising population and economic growth.
Deputy Head of the Department of Investment and Industrial Policy of Moscow, Ms. Anna Kuzmenko,reiterated that Africa offers great opportunities for Russian exports, taking into account the tremendous economic growth achieved by African countries over the past years.
Ms Kuzmenko highlighted that there are indications that Africa will become the world’s greatest continent in terms of free trade with an economic potential reaching US$29 trillion through development of inter-continental and intra-continental trade. She applauded African countries for their willingness to cultivate foreign economic relations with Russia, among other countries within the globe as key in achieving meaningful political and socio-economic development. She also underscored the potential areas of exports which Russia had already made good strides in, such as chemistry, transportation machinery building, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, optics, and information technology.
The Director of the Department of Asia, Africa and Latin America in the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, Mr. Sergey Nosov, emphasised that Russia would make a good partner to African countries as she offered high value technologies, communication, technical solutions, science and many other various industrial equipment which will help Africa in its endeavour to industrialise. He noted the steady development and growth of African countries at the back of its abundant natural resources and raw materials, whose exploitation calls for enhanced cooperation and partnership with international communities.
Member of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Science, Education and Culture, and Chairman of Afrocom, Mr. Igor Morozov, highlighted that the forum seeks to strengthen collaboration and sharing of experience, training of experts, sharing of skilled labour, production, and technology transfer. He emphasised that Russia was committed to working effectively with its African partners and intends to host a second Russia-Africa Summit which aims to boost economic and political relations between Africa and Russia, as well as with the Eurasian Economic Union.