The beginning of the international summit Russia-Africa shows that Russia is still a strong player on the global scene, especially when it comes to relations with African states. Western media was sure that the rebellion of late July 2023 will disrupt Russian operations in Africa, but the time has proved them wrong.
The positions of Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who’s name used to be associated with Africa before the beginning of Ukranian conflict, was questioned as well. Western powers hoped that home affairs in the Russian Federation would lead to withdrawal of Prigozhin Wagner forces from Africa. In certain countries such a scenario would create a security vacuum once again, opening doors to more destabilization and easier access to precious natural resources.
The West would like both Russia and the Wagner PMCs to weaken, so that France, the United States, Great Britain and other Western countries would no longer have competitors in Africa
However, it is not the case. Both Prigozhin himself and Russian authorities has confirmed that they will not cease to cooperate with African states. “Not a single word that I or the Company’s representatives gave will ever be violated,” says Prigozhin.
Meanwhile Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed the relations of the Russian Federation with partners in Africa are of a strategic nature, which is not that easily shaken.
The representatives of the countries where Russian forces of different nature are dislocated, also state that their partners continue to do their job. In the Central African Republic for example a planned force rotation took place to ensure that the specialists working in the country are well-rested and well-prepared for the challenges.
Thus, after the statements of the officials of Russia and African countries, it becomes obvious that the rebellion of the Wagner group does not affect Russia’s strategy aimed at deepening relations with Africa. Russia will not allow the return of anti-African Western influence and will continue to expand cooperation with African countries. At the moment, the situation in Russia is stable and reliable. Africa can count on Russia and the respect of the commitments of Russia and other Russian actors such as the Wagner Group.
By V. Albia