Home » News of the Day » Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement at a reception on the occasion of Africa Day, Moscow, May 23, 2024

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement at a reception on the occasion of Africa Day, Moscow, May 23, 2024

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,


Following tradition, each year we gather at the Foreign Ministry’s Mansion in late May to mark Africa Day, a holiday which epitomises the unwavering will of the African peoples and their struggle in pursuit of freedom and human dignity.

This year, the holiday coincides with the 20th anniversary of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council which is one of the main bodies of this pan-African organisation that plays a significant role in shaping the modern African security architecture and the political and socioeconomic integration of the continent’s countries, and ensuring its proper place within the international economic relations system.

We in Russia are pleased to note that Africa continues to gain political weight and to establish itself as a crucial pillar of the emerging multipolar order. Dynamic integration processes, rapidly growing markets, and business activity make it possible for the African states to play an increasingly meaningful role in international affairs and speak as one. The African Union’s G20 membership which became possible with Russia’s support, and the African peace initiative on Ukraine which, at the suggestion of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, was discussed by a group of African countries with Russian President Vladimir Putin in June and July 2023, serve as compelling proofs of the region’s growing global role.

Russia and Africa have historically been united by close bonds of friendship. During the era of liberation from colonialism, the Soviet Union supported the region in its struggle for independence, supported young African states at multilateral venues, provided economic and technical assistance in creating and expanding national economies, and helped ensure reliable defence capabilities.

Fighting the newly emerged colonial and neo-colonial practices has come to the forefront today. The Western methods have changed, but the thrust of its policy towards African countries has remained unchanged and is to bring them to its heel and to live at the expense of other countries using more sophisticated forms of exploitation as part of the rules-based order.

We remain willing, notwithstanding current circumstances, to support the African countries in their efforts to advance their sovereignty, to address pressing socioeconomic challenges, and to assert Africa’s rightful place as an equal partner in the modern world, including in the efforts to reform the UN Security Council. Unlike former colonial powers, we are building relations with our African friends solely on the basis of equal and honest partnership without politicisation, blackmail, pressure, or interference in their domestic affairs.

According to President Putin, the Russia-Africa Summits have become a “genuine breakthrough.” During the second summit held in St Petersburg in July 2023, we confirmed our overlapping approaches to building country-to-country communication based on the principles of international law, in particular, the principles of the UN Charter in their entirety and interconnection. We have agreed upon the mechanisms for practical cooperation across all areas of interest. A new dialogue format – the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum Conference – has been established at the level of foreign ministers in order to regularly exchange insights on the status of the implementation of the summit decisions and to prepare for the next high-level meeting. The first such meeting will be held this autumn.

Relations between parliaments and parties are making strides. We are working to expand our diplomatic presence in Africa. In December 2023, the Russian Embassy in Burkina Faso resumed its activities. We are now preparing to open full-fledged diplomatic missions in Sierra Leone, Niger, and the Republic of South Sudan.

We are pleased to note the increase in Russia-Africa trade which was up by 30 percent to about $25 billion in 2023. We are committed to expand cooperation in high-tech areas, including peaceful nuclear energy, space exploration, and digital technologies. For us to successfully advance joint projects, we need to create mechanisms that will make our mutually beneficial economic ties self-sufficient and to protect them from the collective West’s unlawful encroachments.

Humanitarian cooperation, including healthcare and sanitary-epidemiological well-being of the public, is expanding. In April, the first Russia-Africa International Conference on Combatting Infectious Diseases was held in Uganda and will be held regularly from now on. Our partnership in the vital area of biological safety is going from strength to strength. Last year, as part of its humanitarian aid effort, Russia provided free grain to Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Mali, Somalia, the Central African Republic, and Eritrea. We continue to fulfill our obligations concerning agricultural exports, as well as exports of fertiliser, energy, and other essential items to Africa.

We support the efforts to strengthen the human resources capacity building by increasing the number of scholarships, opening new branches of Russian universities and schools, and creating a network of open education centres. Currently, nearly 35,000 African students are studying in Russia, with about 7,000 among them funded from the Russian budget.

It is encouraging to know that contacts among academic, public, and business circles are expanding. Promoting security and stability in Africa is among our unwavering priorities. We are firmly committed to the principle formulated by the Africans themselves: African solutions to African problems. We uphold this principle both as a permanent member of the Security Council and in our contacts with the African Union, subregional organisations, and individual African countries.

I would like to express my gratitude to our African friends for their responsible stance on the Ukraine crisis. Earlier, I mentioned the corresponding initiative of the African countries. You remain committed to fair assessments and approaches despite persistent attempts to embroil African countries into the West’s Russophobic campaign.


The potential for Russian-African cooperation across all areas is truly vast. We will continue to work together to bring our relations to the level of a truly strategic partnership.

Happy holiday, once again. I wish peace and prosperity to all African countries and peoples, and good health and success to you and your loved ones.

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