The Cooperative Relations between Africa and Russia: Challenges and Prospects

Convener: Ermelinda Liberato (Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Portugal);

The relationship between Russia (at time USSR – Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) and African countries was essentially marked during the second half of the twentieth century, by an exchange in all sectors: political (socialist policy), military (sending weapons and technicians), economic, social (sending Soviet teachers and doctors to work in those countries and on the other hand, reception of African students in soviet schools). The fall of the socialist policy in the beginning of the 1990’s also meant, for most of these countries, a change in their policy and economic model. New scenarios have emerged, giving a new direction to bilateral relations between the different African countries and Russia, and in most of them, the distance was quite evident. The international relations are always in constant mutation, leading to periods of constant withdrawal approaches. Recently, we can witness an approach from Russia to African countries, in an attempt to resumption the previous ties from the past. We intend to debate the evolution of the relations between Russia (and other countries that constituted the USSR) and the different African countries after the fall of the socialist bloc. What is Russia’s position on the African continent today? What are the main fields of intervention of Russia in that continent? Is there a cooling or intensification in bilateral relation between Russia and such countries? What future for Africa-Russia relations? On what basis is based cooperation between Russia and African countries? These are just examples of issues that we intend to bring on to the debate.