Moscow is set to enter into civilized competition for cooperation with Africa, although some Western countries are pursuing a different path, Russian President Vladimir Putin told TASS.
"We certainly take note of these factors and draw conclusions. We are not going to participate in a new ‘repartition’ of the continent's wealth; rather, we are ready to engage in competition for cooperation with Africa, provided that this competition is civilized and develops in compliance with the law," the Russian leader emphasized.
As Putin stressed, "We see a number of western states resorting to pressure, intimidation and blackmail against governments of sovereign African countries."
"They hope it will help them win back their lost influence and dominant positions in former colonies and seek - this time in a ‘new wrapper’ - to reap excess profits and exploit the continent's resources without any regard for its population, environmental or other risks," the Russian president explained.
"They are also hampering the establishment of closer relations between Russia and Africa - apparently, so that nobody would interfere with their plans," Putin noted.
The Russian president pointed out that not only are West European countries, the United States and China interested in developing relations with Africa, but so are India, Turkey, the Gulf states, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Israel, and Brazil.
"This is not accidental, as Africa increasingly becomes a continent of opportunities," Putin noted. "It possesses vast resources and potential economic attractiveness."
Africa's infrastructure needs are mouting and the African population is rapidly growing along with its demands, the Russian leader said.
"All of this, in turn, calls for an expanded domestic market and greater consumption. Of course, where there are promising prospects for investment and profit, there is always competition, which, unfortunately, at times goes beyond the bounds of decency," Putin stated.
Russia and Africa are committed to protecting their common economic interests and defending them against unilateral sanctions, including by reducing their dollar dependency and switching to other currencies in mutual settlements, the Russian leader said.
"I am confident that the Africans are by no means interested in the escalation of confrontation between the major powers in the continent," Putin stated.
"On the contrary, they would like the rivalry to give way to cooperation in addressing urgent challenges for Africa, such as terrorism, crime, drug trafficking, uncontrolled migration, poverty, highly infectious diseases. I would like to reiterate that this is the kind of work Russia is willing to participate in," the Russian leader stressed.
Russia’s African agenda is positive and future-oriented, Putin noted.
"We do not ally with someone against someone else; and we strongly oppose any geopolitical ‘games’ involving Africa," the Russian leader said.