By Kester Kenn Klomegah
For the second round this year, the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Coordinating Committee for Economic Cooperation with African Countries (AfroCom) brought together business leaders, urging them to look at the African market with great interest and to work more systematically and regularly.
The African market is competitive and complex, Russian companies need to work in it thoroughly and systematically to succeed, underlined Sergey Katyrin, President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, opening the meeting with heads of business councils for cooperation with Africa. countries.
Russia lives in fundamentally new economic realities, supply chains are disrupted, many ties are severed, logistics are disrupted, and companies are forced to adjust their strategies to work with foreign partners and seek new opportunities to their development.
The logical solution here is the development of cooperation in friendly countries, especially on the African continent. The Chamber of Commerce has already received many requests from territorial chambers regarding opportunities for developing trade and economic relations between small and medium enterprises with Africa, Katyrin pointed out during the meeting.
At the same time, while noting the small presence of Russian business footprints on the continent, he also acknowledged that today’s Africa requires new approaches to corporate and state work, long-term programs term to support entrepreneurship and foreign economic activity.
Chairman of the Coordinating Committee for Economic Cooperation with African Countries, Senator RF Igor Morozov spoke at length about what the organization had already done and about its future plans. His organization, created in 2009, is supposed to help companies navigate African realities, find a niche for their work, learn about the requirements for entering certain markets, and more.
While US and European sanctions are currently hitting Russia hard, the trade organization is now turning to Africa. It opens its offices in Kampala (Uganda) and in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), where the headquarters of the African Union are located.
In Africa today, there is a strong demand for computer technologies, and this must be kept in mind. Companies can turn around there, create their own digital platforms and work successfully. There are many technology parks on the continent, for example, there are ten in Ethiopia alone; they offer significant benefits.
Senator Igor Morozov further noted that there is a need to create a Russia-Africa trading house, through which Russian companies can better penetrate African markets. “We really need a specialized investment fund to support entrepreneurs. In general, if we work seriously and with the prospect of working with African partners for many years, more serious state support is needed,” he said.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, many ties in Africa disappeared, many were lost, and new players arrived on the continent, but Russia can still take its rightful place here. But over the years, the Russians often going back and forth, have been very inconsistent with business activities with African partners.
In attendance was Yaroslav Tarasyuk, Deputy Director of the Department of Asian, African and Latin American Countries of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation. Also among the speakers was Anton Razlivaev, Deputy Director of the Department for the Development of Bilateral Cooperation of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation.
Both spoke of the work of promoting Russian interests on the African continent while stressing the need to review many current approaches to organizing work in this direction.
In this regard, Sergey Katyrin noted that since many exhibitions in Europe planned by the ministries have been suspended due to the recent Russian-Ukrainian crisis, the money allocated to them should be used to organize exhibitions in the countries Africans.
But at the same time, you have to work quickly, since it takes at least six months to organize an exhibition. The situation is changing dramatically and what is entirely possible today may prove difficult to implement tomorrow.
Russian financial institutions are slow to take an interest in Africa. To promote this idea and ask banks to offer financial support, the participation of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation is very important. Another important issue is transaction assurance. Of course, there are more problems, as always happens in business, but those listed are among the most important, participants in the discussion pointed out.
Sergey Katyrin summarized the meeting, noting that Africa is an extremely interesting and important area of activity for business, and that the authorities should prepare and consolidate it into a single document supported by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Russian.