Last week’s event attracted thousands of guests and produced dozens of practical decisions, Roscongress has said
Last week, Russia hosted a high-profile international event, which was attended by dozens of delegations from African nations. The gathering in St. Petersburg was the second of its kind and was focused on developing Moscow’s diplomatic, commercial, and humanitarian relations with the guest nations.
Roscongress, the government agency that organized the Russia-Africa forum, deemed it a resounding success, as it summed up its outcome on Monday.
The event in Russia went as planned “despite unprecedented pressure from the West,” the statement said.
Washington and its allies are seeking to isolate Moscow internationally, claiming that it should be punished for the conflict in Ukraine. Although supported by members of NATO and countries such as Japan and South Korea, which host US troops, many other nations have maintained a neutral stance.
Guests and hosts
The two-day forum was attended by official delegations from 48 countries, most of them led by heads of states or second-ranking national officials. The five largest integration associations on the continent were also represented, Roscongress pointed out.
It estimated total participation at 9,000, with nationals from 104 foreign states and territories attending various events of the forum. The figure included roughly 1,000 foreign business people and 1,100 foreign officials, as well as 2,000 entrepreneurs and 750 public servants from the host nation. More than 2,000 people came from various media organizations.
Senior officials attending the forum signed four key declarations, a four-year action plan and two memoranda of understanding between Russia and African regional blocs.
Also, 161 non-secret agreements on various programs came out of the summit. Most of them were on intergovernmental cooperation, education, tech sharing, and international trade, the statement reported.
“This year, the discussions of the Economic and Humanitarian Forum were full of practical proposals, particularly in the humanitarian and technological fields, and generated significant interest from representatives of business and the scientific community,” said Anton Kobyakov, the executive secretary of the organizing committee.
A total of 59 panel sessions were held at the forum with 457 speakers participating.
The gathering included an extensive sports and cultural program. One of the key moments for Russia was the formal announcement of the Friendship Games, which will be held next September in Moscow and Yekaterinburg.
Some commentators have compared the current standoff in sports to the Cold War era boycotts of Olympic Games by both the Western and Soviet blocs. Moscow is touting its upcoming international Friendship Games as highlighting the unifying ideals of sports and taking political agendas out of it.
Russian athletes were penalized by international athletic organizations as part of the Western sanctions campaign. The initial full ban was mostly replaced this year with a requirement for Russians to compete under a neutral flag. Russian citizens must also pass strict screening for doping and their position on the Ukraine conflict. Moscow considers the restrictions discriminatory and politically motivated.
Sporting events on the sidelines of the forum included a five-kilometer run, a multi-day 1,000-km cycling race around Lake Ladoga, a football festival featuring a gala match between teams of Russian and African stars, and a stage of the Russian beach volleyball championship.
On the cultural side, there was a festival of African contemporary art and cuisine in St. Petersburg, a film festival showcasing works by African filmmakers, and a street concert called Rhythms of Africa, where people could watch performances by African bands and Russian musicians playing African music.
The forum also hosted over 50 exhibitions dedicated to various aspects of Russian cooperation with African nations. One collective exhibition was prepared by African countries to present their national achievements.
August 01, 2023 at 06:28PM