A First-Hand Account of the Russia-Africa Summit

Sebastien Périmony, the head of the Schiller Institute’s Africa desk, has posted an 18-minute video reporting on the July 27-28 Russia-African summit in Saint Petersburg, which he attended. Remarkably, the SI was the only Western organization invited to take part in this event, which Périmony explains by the Institute’s constant combat since 1984 “for world peace, mutual development and dialogue between civilizations, in the spirit of Bandung and the non-aligned movement, and to emancipate peoples from the financial oligarchy, imperialism and neo-colonialism”.

Despite all the pressure from Western institutions on African leaders and governments not to attend, he points out that there were official delegations from 48 countries, including 27 heads of state or government, as well as the chairman of the African Union. In their final statement, the participants express their commitment “to build together a new, fairer multipolar architecture of world order based on the sovereign equality of states and mutually beneficial cooperation”.

Personally, Périmony was able to attend many panels, “each more fascinating than the last”. While issues such as nuclear power and space research for Africa are largely tabou in the West, they were very much on the agenda in St. Petersburg, he noted. In fact, the very first panel of the Business Programme dealt with “nuclear technologies for Africa”, and explicitly proposed to discuss “Atoms for peace and development” on the continent.

There is currently only one nuclear power plant operating in Africa, in South Africa. But another one is currently under construction, with the Russian nuclear company ROSATOM, at El Dabaa in Egypt. Many other countries are also “interested in civil nuclear power, including Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, which has announced that the first nuclear power plant should be connected to the grid by 2031”, as well as Burkina Faso.

“In parallel, there was a second panel on space, which I wasn’t able to attend as they were at the same time, but which advocated the same type of approach: accelerating economic development and improving people’s standard of living. And, of course, training African youth to the highest technological level. A number of agreements were signed for this purpose at the Russia-Africa forum.”

One of the highlights of the summit was the many cultural and sporting initiatives put in place to establish a genuine dialogue between Russian and African youth.

On a personal level, Sébastien Périmony says he was able to discuss with a number of political representatives, pan-African activists and members of the civil society, and was interviewed by various media outlets (Sputnik Afrique, Afrique Média, Algerian media, etc), during which he “gave the SI’s vision of this new dialogue, of this concert of nations far removed from the criminal neo-colonial policies of NATO, the City of London and Wall Street.”

In respect to the rejection of French domination by many African countries, and to the conflict in Niger more specifically, Sébastien Périmony stated clearly from the outset of his report, that the SI is firmly opposed to “any military intervention by the West in general and France in particular”.

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