The African Conference of the Valdai Discussion Club
Corinthia Hotel, 57 Nevsky Prospect, St. Petersburg, Russia

On July 25, 2023, St. Petersburg will host the Russian-African Conference of the Valdai Club, titled “Russia and African Countries: Established Traditions of Interaction and Prospects for Cooperation in a New World”. The one-day conference on the eve of the second Russia-Africa summit will be held at the Corinthia Hotel, at 57 Nevsky Prospect.

More than 60 people from 12 countries have been invited to participate in the Valdai Club’s first African Conference, including guests from Algeria, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Ruanda, Russia, South Africa. Most of the guests are involved in the process of foreign policy planning in their countries. It can be expected, therefore, that the recommendations and results of the Valdai Club conference will have an applied nature and will fall on the table of leaders on the eve of the summit on July 27-28. The Valdai Club Conference will actually become the final synchronisation of watches at the expert level in the run-up to the summit.

In the new geopolitical conditions, Africa is becoming one of priorities of the Russian foreign policy. The process of strengthening ties is facilitated by relative geographic proximity, established contacts in the field of supply of agricultural products, and cooperation in the military-industrial and mining sectors. On June 17, during negotiations with representatives of the leadership of seven African states, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted that the states of Africa are constantly increasing their weight and their role in world affairs, asserting themselves more and more confidently in politics and the economy. “We are convinced that Africa will become one of the leaders of the emerging new multipolar world order,” he said.

The Russian-African conference is aimed at holding a frank conversation about how Russian and African experts see the future development of the world, Russia’s position on the African continent, how the parties can interact in new economic, political and social conditions, and how to take relations to a new level, strengthening the traditional political solidarity.

A new Valdai Club report, “Russia and Africa: An Audit of Relations” has been prepared for the conference; its presentation will take place on July 18 in Moscow. The report analyses relations in various fields since the first Russia-Africa summit in 2019. An important part of it is devoted to comparing Russian policy with similar agendas that China, India, the USA, and Turkey have regarding Africa. The report authors highlight Russia’s pros and cons in comparison with other countries and offer recommendations on how to most effectively use strengths and overcome weaknesses. The report will shape the basis of discussions at the conference.

The conference agenda includes four sessions, each followed by media scrum:

  • Political dialogue between Russia and African countries: mutual understanding in a turbulent world;
  • Economic relations: an audit three years after the first Russia-Africa summit;
  • Culture, education, human connections: how to bring Russia and Africa closer to each other;
  • Soviet legacy in Africa: from the past to the future and general discussion.

The conference participants will include both long-time friends of the Valdai Club and young experts from the continent. All of them occupy serious positions in their universities and think tanks, some being, in addition, experts on Russia.

The international guests of the conference include: Ramzу Ramzу, UN Deputy Special Envoy for Syria (2014-2019) (Egypt); Aliu Tunkara, Member of the Mali Parliament, former head of the African diasporas in St. Petersburg “African Unity” (Mali); Jafar Geletu, Deputy Executive Director of the Institute of International Relations under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia; Gina Naim, Executive Director of the Centre for Africa and the Middle East of South Africa; Sherif Ged, Chairman of the Egyptian Association of Graduates of Soviet Universities; Samir Bhattacharya, Senior Fellow at the International Vivekananda Foundation (India); Israel Nyaburi Nyadera, Egerton University lecturer (Kenya); Mikatekiso Kubayi, Research Fellow, Institute of Pan-African Thought and Dialogue (South Africa); Xu Guangmiao, Research Fellow at the Centre for Russian Studies at East China Normal University (China); Kweisi Pratt, Editor-in-Chief of The Insight newspaper (Ghana);and many others.

The Russian participants include: Oleg Ozerov, Ambassador-at-Large of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Head of the Secretariat of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum; Andrey Avetisyan, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Tanzania; Vladimir Shubin, Chief Researcher of the Institute for African studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Honorary Doctor of the University of the Western Cape, South Africa; Natalia Zaiser, Chairman of the Board of the “African Business Initiative”; Andrey Bystritskiy, Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club; Fyodor Lukyanov, Research Director of the Valdai Discussion Club; Oleg Barabanov, Programme Director of the Valdai Discussion Club; Ivan Timofeev, General Director of the Russian International Affairs Council, Programme Director of the Valdai Discussion Club and others.

Information for the media: Dear journalists, in order to be accredited to the event, please fill out the form on our web site. If you have any questions about the event, please call +79269307763.

A link to the live broadcast of the discussion will be posted on all online platforms of the Valdai Club: on the websiteTwitterTelegram and Dzen. 

Accreditation will end on July 24 at 17:00 Moscow time (GMT+3).