The First Russia-Africa Business Forum launched
The first Russia-Africa Business Forum was held here in Addis Ababa, on Friday at the presence of H.E Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and H.E Mikhail Margelov, Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for Cooperation with African Countries.
At the opening session, Prime Minister Meles said Ethiopia and Russia has had long-standing friendly relations, adding that the fact that Russian medics played a vital role at the battle of Adwa in support of Ethiopian soldiers in defeating colonial aggression was an indication that the relations between the two countries were indeed close and exceptional during the Tsarist era. He also remarked that this relation was continued and radically extended during the Soviet era with economic, educational and security cooperation reaching the highest level.
Russia-Africa cooperation had significantly declined while both were engaged with their domestic problems. Russia is now a huge market that provides enticing opportunities for African exports and produces many goods needed in Africa but bought through third parties as is also the case with African exports to Russia. Africa can massively increase and enhance its trade relation through direct business contacts and government support; and Russia has the capital and technology that Africa needs to develop its infrastructure, exploit its natural resources and promote the industrialization of its economies.
Meles expressed his wish that Russia-Africa cooperation would establish in a way like other Africa and old partners, Africa-new and emerging countries cooperation.
Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for Cooperation with African Countries, Mikhail Margelov, in his speech said that such representative events make greater emphasis on interests of Russia and Africa Business circle in enhancing practical interactions. The agenda of the forum covers topical issues of trade, economic, scientific and technological, and investment cooperation with a focus on launching promising joint projects in such areas as energy, industrial production, high technologies, transport and agriculture.
He said that Russia had a good basis for fully developing the potential of mutually beneficial economic cooperation and turning to a more organized and structured interaction with African countries. He also expressed his wish that such forums would undoubtedly contribute to achieving this goal and will help establish closer contacts between business communities of Russia and Africa.
Around two hundred participants including businessmen and higher officials from Russia, Ethiopia and other African countries have attended the meeting.