The Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Government of the Russian Federation on 23rd October, 2018 signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Basic Principles of Relations and Cooperation which provides a framework for cooperation between SADC and the Russian Federation.
The Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax signed the MoU on behalf of SADC and His Excellency Mr Sergey Lavrov, the Minister of Foreign of the Russian Federation signed on behalf of the Russian Government at a signing ceremony that took place at the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry in Moscow.
In his remarks after the signing ceremony, H.E. Mr. Lavrov said the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding marks an important chapter in cementing relations between SADC and the Russian Federation.
H.E. Mr Lavrov said the Russian Federation has a long standing and historical relationship with Africa, having supported a number of Liberation Movements on the continent in their struggle for independence and freedom.
He said the Russian Federation has stepped up efforts to strengthen its mutually beneficial relations between Russia and Africa. He cited Russia’s support in various areas such as peace keeping, HIV and AIDS and a number of investments in Africa. On this note, the Foreign Affairs Minister informed the SADC Executive Secretary that the Russian Federation is preparing to convene the Russia-Africa Summit in 2019 which will bring together African Heads of State and Government.
On her part, H.E. Dr Tax described the signing of the MoU as a giant step towards forging a closer cooperation between SADC and the Russian Federation for the benefit of the peoples of SADC and Russia.
H.E. Dr Tax expressed hope that the SADC Investment Forum and the signing of the MoU will go a long way in bringing the Russian investors to the SADC region in the areas of science and technology, infrastructure, particularly energy, pharmaceuticals and medicine. She highlighted that SADC was implementing the pooled procurement of pharmaceuticals and invited Russia pharmaceutical manufactures to partner with SADC in this initiative.
The Executive Secretary expressed commitment to support SADC Member States to develop and implement strategic programmes and projects with Partners from the Russian Federation.
Through the MoU, SADC and the Russian Federation intend to promote mutually beneficial cooperation between the two parties in political, industrial development, trade, economic, humanitarian, scientific, technical, social, cultural and other fields with the aim of contributing to the vision of a common future that will ensure economic well-being, improvement of the standards of living and quality of life, freedom and social justice and peace and security for the peoples of SADC Member States and Russia.
The signing of the MoU on Basic Principles of Relations and Cooperation follows the signing of another MoU on Military-Technical Cooperation between SADC and the Russian Federation on 27 July, 2018.