The two-day Russian-African summit commenced in St. Petersburg on July 27, with the participation of 17 African high state representatives, though the Russian organizers had initially expected 43 African heads of state to attend. The Kremlin attributed the reduction in top state officials’ numbers to pressure from the West, which purportedly discouraged African countries from participating. Nevertheless, an adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed that 49 out of the 54 African countries are represented at the event through ambassadors or high-ranking government officials.
During the summit, President Putin made a significant offer to supply free grain to Somalia, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, and Eritrea for four months. This move came after Russia suspended its participation in grain agreements with Ukraine, mediated by the UN and Turkey, on July 17. These agreements facilitated the export of nearly 33 million tons of grain through the Black Sea, helping to prevent a food crisis, particularly in the developing world. The African Union expressed regret over Russia’s withdrawal from the grain export agreement, as Africa heavily relies on grain imports from Russia and Ukraine.
On the first day of the summit, President Putin also discussed the preparation of energy projects with Russian involvement in Africa, with several agreements expected to be concluded during the event.
The President of the African Union, Azali Assoumani, called for “peaceful coexistence” between Russia and Ukraine, emphasizing that African leaders are closely observing the situation due to their partnership with both countries.
The second Russia-Africa summit, taking place as part of Russia’s efforts to assert its influence and business interests in Africa, highlights Moscow’s continued support for the region despite international isolation due to the war in Ukraine. The first summit was held in 2019.
Meanwhile, as African leaders engage in negotiations in Russia, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba embarked on his first trip to Africa since the war began. During his visits to Liberia and Equatorial Guinea, Kuleba discussed food security matters.