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Russia-Africa summit provides a global stage for Moscow to puff up its influence

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Published in The Conversation

Forty-three African heads of state attended the 2019 Russia-Africa summit. They had high hopes that Russia would emerge as a new source of investment and trade for the continent. Russian president Vladimir Putin promised to double Russian trade with Africa in five years to US$40 billion.

Since then, Russian trade with the continent has contracted to US$14 billion. It is lopsided, with Russia exporting seven times as much as it imports from Africa. Additionally, 70% of this trade is concentrated in just four countries: Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and South Africa.

Russia invests very little in Africa. It accounts for 1% of the foreign direct investment that goes to the continent. Mauritius is a larger source of foreign direct investment for Africa. Additionally, Russia’s gross domestic product has shrunk in value from US$2.3 trillion in 2013 to US$1.8 trillion in 2021.

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