Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: For Russian business, Africa is a very favourable continent for investments and for the creation of joint ventures

- What do you think about the current situation in relations between Russia and Africa and how can it be strengthened?

- Now relations between Russia and Africa are developing rapidly thanks to the efforts of President Vladimir Putin. In October 2019, just before the pandemic, the Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum took place in Sochi, in which I took part.
The summit brought together more than 40 leaders of African countries and was opened by the President of Russia. In general, officials from 54 African countries came to the summit. During the economic forum, round tables were held with Russian businesspersons, both from state and private companies. This summit and the subsequent events gave a powerful impetus to business relations among our countries, but the 2020 pandemic disrupted many plans.
The vector, I am sure, which was set at the 2019 Summit in Sochi, will be the basis of our future partnership and cooperation. There is a great deal of interest in the African continent in Russia. We have extensive experience in the extraction of natural resources such as hydrocarbons, oil, gas, coal and bauxite. For example, Rusal worked in Guinea and Alrosa in Algeria. There is both equipment and technology, and most importantly, staff.

It should be noted that many strong ties between Africa and Russia have remained since the days of the Soviet Union. I visited almost all African countries and I met people, who studied in the Soviet Union and know Russian, in each of them.
The Patrice Lumumba Peoples' Friendship University was established in the Soviet Union. It is not far from MGIMO. We were friends with this university. Incidentally, it has a chess club, and I have opened chess tournaments several times there. Representatives from almost all African countries studied at this university, and still study. Its graduates have become leaders, presidents and ministers in their countries.
In Zambia, for example, the Minister of Sports is a graduate of Patrice Lumumba University. The Minister of Health of Togo graduated from the First Medical Institute in Moscow. I know that special meetings of graduates of Soviet universities are taking place in Africa now. More than a thousand people gather there! These are specialists in various fields, including mechanical engineering, medicine, various humanities disciplines and sports.
In every African country, there are people who studied in the Soviet Union and know the Russian language. For Russian entrepreneurs and for Russian business, Africa is a very favourable continent for investment and creation of joint ventures, because the Russians and Russia are treated very well there.
It should be noted that the African continent has developed greatly now. I remember my first visits in the early 1990s there and I can say with confidence that the African continent has changed much. Many Africans have already received a European education, and their educational and professional level has grown significantly. I want to warn some European businesspersons. Today, many African entrepreneurs can give a head start to executives from so-called developed countries.