Russia-Africa: Africa’s New Competitive Player

07/06/2023 15:53
 Россия-Африка: Африканский континент – новый конкурентный игрок

Photo from the official website of the IT Forum

KHANTY-MANSIYSK (YUGRA). On June 6, as part of the IT-Forum, a round table "Russia-Africa: The African continent - a new competitive player" was held. The moderator was the Secretary General of the Eurasian Peoples' Assembly Andrey Belyaninov.

The event was attended by Acting Deputy Director of the Department of International Information Security of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Olga Melnikova, Deputy Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation Dmitry Oguryaev, Executive Secretary of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO, Deputy Director of the Department for Multilateral Humanitarian Cooperation and Cultural Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Tatiana Dovgalenko, Former Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Benin to the Russian Federation and the CIS countries, High Commissioner of the Eurasian Economic Cooperation Organization (EECO) for International Cooperation - Deputy Secretary General of the EECO, Director General of the International Coordinating Council of Graduates of Educational Institutions Anicet Gabriel Kotchofa, Advisor to the Minister of Digitalization of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Katimba Venceslas Kukvabantu, General Director of Web Bridge LLC Denis Kuznetsov.

The participants discussed issues of effective cooperation in the digitalization of public administration, interaction between Russia and Africa in the humanitarian sphere, security of the information space, as well as the formation of close interregional ties with partners from African countries.

Andrei Belyaninov set the level of discussion, noting that if earlier people from the USSR and Russia came to Africa to help, now there is no need to help.

“Africa declares itself in full voice that it is an equal partner, it has something to say and show. This is a serious business unit, it has a huge resource and scientific potential. Based on this, it is necessary to build the tone of our meeting in this way - there is an exchange of views of equal partners, and everyone came here to gain experience,” he said.

The moderator's theses were supported by Anicet Gabriel Kotchofa.

“Africa today is not the continent that you and I knew 50, or even five years ago. It has completely changed, and now it clearly knows what it needs, with whom to go. It has become a full-fledged player in world civilization. Now, Africa is not reserved for someone and does not belong to anyone. Now Africa is a free continent, it has a choice and has learned to take on its own destiny. We no longer extend our hands, the continent is ready to cooperate on mutually beneficial terms,” the expert stated.

Olga Melnikova highly appreciated the level of coordination between Russia and African countries on international information security issues.

“A solid base of cooperation has been developed, primarily in a multilateral format,” the Deputy Head of the Foreign Ministry department noted.

Dmitry Oguryaev, based on the priority of the issues of the IT Forum in Khanty-Mansiysk, noted that the main enemy of digitalization is bureaucracy.

“This enemy is not unique, it exists in all countries, and in Russia they decided to fight it with the help of such a concept as superservice,” he said, adding that domestic developments may be of interest to African partners.

The topic was continued by Denis Kuznetsov, who spoke about the experience of creating, implementing and practical experience in using the educational platform both in Ugra and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo - this is a unique development of Ugra IT specialists.

“The Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug - Ugra has the most functional platform in terms of a wide range and capabilities to accompany the educational process. The project with African partners to digitalize education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was unexpected and fruitful,” he said.

Tatyana Dovgalenko raised the cultural, scientific and humanitarian aspects of Russian-African cooperation.

“We are united not only by the role of the USSR in the decolonization of Africa and the establishment of the independence of countries and peoples, assistance in the development of national economies. We are bound by invisible strong threads. For example, today is the birthday of Pushkin, the creator of the modern Russian language. His great-grandfather was born in Ethiopia. Therefore, in a sense, we owe the genius of Pushkin to the African continent.”

At the end of the round table, Andrey Belyaninov asked Pavel Tsiporin, Director of the Department of Information Technologies and Digital Development of Yugra, to speak about the history of the creation of the IT camp project in Yugra. The head of the department expressed hope that such a project might be of interest to partners from Africa, and Ugra is ready to share it.