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African Market is Very Promising for Russia—Vladimir Padalko



Vladimir Padalko

By Kester Kenn Klomegah

Vice-President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, Mr Vladimir Padalko, has described the African market as very promising for Russian companies, especially those intending to localize their production on the continent blessed with several resources.

In this insightful interview with our Media Executive Kester Kenn Klomegah, he also discussed the existing challenges and emerging prospects especially for strengthening trade and economic relations with Africa, amid unprecedented stringent sanctions by the United States, European Union and their Pacific allies. Here are the interview excerpts:

What can we expect from the second Russia-Africa summit scheduled for this year? Is it worth talking about increasing the level of Russian investment, and strengthening interaction with African businesses?

The second Russia-Africa summit will become an important starting point for cooperation between the Russian Federation and African countries. The economic situation for Russia has now changed dramatically, while most countries on the continent have refrained from participating in anti-Russian sanctions. Therefore, we are talking about the formation of new approaches in a wide field of interaction, adjustment, or rather an expansion of those strategic tasks that were formulated at the first Russia-Africa summit.

Let me remind you that three years ago, priority areas for economic cooperation were identified in a number of industries. These are energy, infrastructure development, especially railway construction, mining and processing of minerals, agriculture, digital technologies, medicine, science and education. These priorities will be voiced at the second summit as well. But I think that the main topic of the upcoming forum will be the formation of new tools for fruitful cooperation between Russia and Africa, including new methods of mutual settlements, logistics routes, media and cultural communication.

How competitive is the current African market for Russian companies and potential investors who have shown interest in Africa?

In recent years, many African countries no longer experience a lack of attention from foreign partners. Unfortunately, today the share of Western states, as well as China, in trade with African countries is much higher than Russia’s. But, nevertheless, our country is able to occupy significant niches in many areas. We sell very popular goods in Africa: fertilizers, oil products, wood products, plastics, rolled metal products, grain, certain types of machinery and equipment, and vehicles.

In turn, African countries are ready to supply the Russian market with a whole range of food products, with the supply of which problems have recently arisen. And in some countries, in particular, South Africa, there are good products in mechanical engineering, chemical, and food industries, which will also be useful for us today. The African market today is very promising for Russia, but also very difficult. Russian business needs to work on it thoroughly and systematically in order to achieve success.

Does the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation intend to encourage Russian companies to localize their production in African countries, thereby using one of the most reliable ways to expand trade and economic cooperation?

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation supports all positive trends in business, including foreign economic activity. The localization of Russian production in African countries is already a mature stage of cooperation when companies understand all the specifics of doing business in a particular country and are confident in the long-term nature of project implementation, and the return on their investments. In my opinion, now for the majority of Russian companies that intend to work in Africa, it is important to create a set of tools that will allow them to confidently develop their business with the countries of the continent.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation has already prepared a set of proposals that should seriously help the promotion of Russian business to African markets. The initiatives were discussed and approved at the last meeting of the heads of business councils at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation for cooperation with African countries. For example, it is important that Russian banks come to Africa. Now there is only one bank – it is very small for the whole continent. We need settlement banks that would work with different currencies, and not just with dollars and euros.

The President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sergey Katyrin, in a letter to the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin, proposed to conclude intergovernmental agreements with African states on the use of national currencies in mutual settlements and payments. It was also proposed to work out the issue of establishing a specialized export-import bank and a trust fund to support the export activities of small and medium-sized businesses in African countries. We really need a Russia-Africa trading house.

In connection with the latest events in the world, international logistics have seriously changed. We need commodity hubs that work for several countries at once. As you can see, we are now at the stage of creating an infrastructure that will allow us to reach a qualitatively new level of cooperation between Russia and Africa.

Business needs vital information, knowledge about the investment climate, and the specifics of work in a particular country. Business needs vital information, knowledge about the investment climate, and the specifics of working in a particular country. Do you think there is an information vacuum between Russia and Africa?

The information vacuum definitely exists, and this obstacle should first be removed. One of the most effective tools in this direction is holding exhibitions. Experience indicates that business in Africa shows great interest in them. In connection with this, the CCI of the Russian Federation proposes to redirect the funds allocated for exhibitions in Europe to the organization of exhibitions and business forums in African countries.

But at the same time, it is necessary to work quickly – it takes an average of six months to prepare any exhibition, and the situation in this area can change dramatically. It is also necessary to organize business missions more often, hold roadshows, presentations of Russian companies in African countries. The online format of communication is good, but direct contact, so to speak, on earth is always effective and brings returns.

I would like to note that the CCI of the Russian Federation intends to actively contribute to the expansion of the network of trade representative offices in Africa. Currently, there are only four Russian trade missions operating on the continent; Morocco, Algeria, Egypt and South Africa. There should be more of them.

What do you think are the main problems for foreign players on the African continent, what hinders the development of trade and the influx of Russian investments into African countries?

Trade and economic cooperation is always a bilateral process. African countries need to further develop financial and investment infrastructure, which foreign partners, in our case, Russian ones, will be able to rely on. Do not hope that investors will come, find promising projects on their own and implement them at their own expense. At the same time, the experience of the Soviet Union shows that it is possible and necessary to cooperate with African countries in a broad format.

However, the economic model of interaction is now fundamentally different – no one will recklessly invest. All work is based on a mutually beneficial basis. At the same time, Russia is now living in fundamentally new economic realities. Many communications, logistics, and supply chains have been disrupted. Business is forced to adjust strategies for working with foreign partners and to look for new opportunities for their development. And in this situation, cooperation in friendly areas – with African countries – becomes one of the priorities.

At the end of this exclusive interview, what are your final motivating words and what can you wish for potential clients and partners in Africa?

Africa has changed a lot in recent years. A number of countries show high rates of economic growth, new industries are developing, enterprises are opening, and not in the sphere of primary processing of minerals and agricultural raw materials. The African continent has become a place of expansion for many foreign companies. Russia cannot stand aside from this process. Businesses need to take the initiative and take a certain risk – it is like two sides of a coin. The main thing is that our country has a good mood for the development of cooperation, and this is unambiguous on the part of African countries as well. So, we will succeed. There is a wide field of collaboration ahead.

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AfDB Board Okays $1.5bn to Avert Food Crisis in Africa



food crisis africa

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Groups (AfDB) on Friday approved a $1.5 billion facility to help African countries avert a looming food crisis.

With the disruption of food supplies arising from the Russia-Ukraine war, Africa now faces a shortage of at least 30 million metric tons of food, especially wheat, maize, and soybeans imported from both countries.

The Abidjan-based bank, among other institutions, has disclosed that African farmers urgently need high-quality seeds and inputs before the planting season begins in May to immediately boost food supplies.

The Abidjan based bank’s $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility is an unprecedented comprehensive initiative to support smallholder farmers in filling the food shortfall. It will provide 20 million African smallholder farmers with certified seeds.

Also, it will increase access to agricultural fertilizers and enable them to rapidly produce 38 million tons of food, which is about a $12 billion increase in food production in just two years.

The President of AfDB Group, Mr Akinwumi Adesina, said: “Food aid cannot feed Africa. Africa does not need bowls in hand. Africa needs seeds in the ground, and mechanical harvesters to harvest bountiful food produced locally. Africa will feed itself with pride for there is no dignity in begging for food.”

Also, the Vice President of AfDB for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Ms Beth Dunford, said, “The Africa Emergency Food Production Facility builds on lessons learned from the African Development Bank’s Feed Africa Response to COVID-19  programme. That programme has provided a strategic roadmap to support Africa’s agriculture sector and safeguard food security against the pandemic’s impact.”

The facility has benefited from stakeholder consultations, including those with fertilizer producers and separately with African Union agriculture and finance ministers earlier this month.

The ministers agreed to implement reforms to address the systemic hurdles that prevent modern input markets from performing effectively.

The bank’s $1.5 billion strategies will lead to the production of 11 million tons of wheat; 18 million tons of maize; 6 million tons of rice; and 2.5 million tons of soybeans.

The plan is to provide 20 million farmers with certified seeds, fertilizer, and extension services. It will also support market growth and post-harvest management.

Also, the bank will provide fertilizer to smallholder farmers across Africa over the next four farming seasons, using its convening influence with major fertilizer manufacturers, loan guarantees, and other financial instruments.

The facility will also create a platform to advocate for critical policy reforms to solve the structural issues that impede farmers from receiving modern inputs. This includes strengthening national institutions overseeing input markets.

It has a structure for working with multilateral development partners. This will ensure rapid alignment and implementation, enhanced reach, and effective impact and will increase technical preparedness and responsiveness.

In addition, it includes short, medium, and long-term measures to address both the urgent food crisis and the long-term sustainability and resilience of Africa’s food systems.

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SA Startup Nile Raises $5.1m for Direct Agric Purchases



SA startup Nile

By Adedapo Adesanya

South African agriculture technology startup, Nile, which enables buyers to purchase directly from Africa’s leading food producers through its marketplace, has raised a $5.1 million equity funding round led by Naspers Foundry.

The startup’s end-to-end process connects farmers to commercial retailers of fresh produce both in South Africa and across the continent.

The business-to-business (B2B) platform facilitates transactions and safeguards payments on behalf of farmers, resulting in increased transparency and improved cash flow.

Nile’s new equity round was led by Naspers Foundry, which contributed $2.5 million, alongside Platform Investment Partners, Raba Capital and Base Capital.

This transaction makes it Naspers Foundry’s 10th transaction, with its portfolio also including SweepSouth, Aerobotics, Food Supply Network, The Student Hub, WhereIsMyTransport, Ctrl, Naked Insurance and Floatpays.

Speaking on this, Mr Louis de Kock, co-founder and CEO of Nile, “We are delighted to have Naspers Foundry support our mission to make fresh produce more accessible to people across the African continent.

“While we were able to bootstrap Nile through our initial growth phase, we look forward to having the backing of an internationally respected investor and experienced operator like Naspers as we scale our cross-border operations to the rest of Africa.”

Adding his input, Mr Fabian Whate, head of Naspers Foundry said, “Nile provides a fully integrated ecosystem that creates trust between buyers and sellers on the platform and is a great example of tech entrepreneurs building innovative solutions that address people’s everyday needs.

“We are excited about the growth potential of this business and its contribution to transforming the trade of fresh produce.”

Nile was founded in 2020 to provide farmers with digital solutions that can address various pain points inherent to food trading – including price transparency, quality verification, speed of payments, the traceability of the produce and food waste.

Since Nile’s inception, approximately 30 million kilogrammes of fruits and vegetables have been traded on the platform, with buyers originating from five countries and 35 towns and cities across Southern Africa.

Nile’s services are used by farmers of all sizes, from small-scale farmers to large commercial farmers, with buyers ranging from large South Africa-listed companies to small family-owned retailers and wholesalers.

Nile also operates in Botswana, Namibia, Eswatini and Mozambique.

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Migrating to Canada from Nigeria – Provincial Nominee Programs



Migrating to Canada from Nigeria

There continues to be a high demand for high-skilled immigrants in many developed countries worldwide, and Canada isn’t an exception. The country’s skilled immigration system recognizes that immigrants can be instrumental in addressing labour market needs and economic growth, especially when they have in-demand skills, experience, and education. Hence, the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is an important component of Canada’s economic immigration system.

This provincial program creates a platform for the federal and provincial governments to work together to create industrial growth in Canada. The initiative makes it easier for qualified, skilled foreigners to become permanent residents. Provinces can nominate skilled immigrants who have been invited to apply for PR through Express Entry or the paper-based process.

Who Can Apply for PNP?

Although the nominee program is exclusive to workers, not all applicants in the job market are eligible. Some workers may be eligible, depending on their occupation. If an applicant holds a high human capital that is in demand in the province, the individual can apply for nomination in any of the available PNP immigration programs best suited.

Applicants must apply in the provinces they intend to live in. For example, a foreign senior developer who receives a “notification of interest” from Alberta is not qualified to apply under British Columbia’s PNP, especially when the individual has no interest in becoming a long-term resident there. Using the same scenario, the software engineer may not be considered for this program if there’s no intention to become a permanent resident in Canada.

Breaking Down the PNP Framework

As previously highlighted, there are two approaches to the PNP application process. The procedure entails undergoing some background checks, like police clearance and medical examinations for the province of application. The applicant must clear them successfully, as they make up part of the overall assessment. For those who consider the standard process, the requirements share some similarities with its counterpart.

To begin with, the applicants must meet the eligibility requirements for the province; likewise the Express Entry stream. Their skills must match one of the listed programs. That way, the province can invite such persons to apply. If nominated, they can submit the application to the IRCC. This approach has a longer wait time, compared to the second option.

Generally, the Express Entry stream is faster and more straightforward than the standard process. The skilled immigrant visits the province’s website to apply for nomination. Whereby the province finds the applicant an ideal fit for its labour market needs, it proceeds to nominate the professional, earning the individual 600 CRS extra. The next step would be to create an Express Entry account and proceed to apply for permanent residence.

Another option would be to flip the process around. This time, the Express Entry account creation comes first, which the professional notifies the province of. This is where the “notification of interest” comes into play. With this approach, there is direct communication between the candidate and the province officials in charge of the application. The former can then apply to the latter’s Express Entry stream and proceed to send the PR application to the IRCC.

Is Permanent Residence Available to Families of PNP-Nominated Immigrants?

The Provincial Nominee Program is one of the selected initiatives that encourage families to be united. Under this program, a spouse or child can accompany the foreign-born applicant when they make Canada their permanent residence. Those who move to Canada are eligible to become permanent residents as well. Plus, it extends to the children of the dependent children.

What Are Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) Points?

When seeking permanent residence, various prerequisites must be met. Still, the Comprehensive Ranking System majorly determines whether a candidate is eligible for PR status. Points are allocated depending on the following:

  • Language proficiency
  • Academic background
  • Work experience
  • Age
  • Province ties

Some are given points for obtaining professional degrees, like the Master of Business Administration (MBA) or other specializations that require significant academic efforts. The same is true for a foreign skilled worker, such as a financial advisor, who is fluent in the required language (often English or French). When a province nominates this skilled professional, additional CRS points are added to the person’s profile.

These points combined with those from other considerable aspects of the program, help the IRCC officials determine if the financial advisor qualifies for permanent residence.

How Can Applicants Improve Their Chances of Being Nominated?

Given a large number of skilled foreigners in the Express Entry pool, the possibility of being nominated quickly may be dicey. As such, applicants are advised to build a strong profile. Those who end up securing a job or enrolling in an academic program in Canada increase their CRS points and thus, their chances of getting a provincial nomination for PR application.

For example, an IT project manager seeking a PNP nomination from New Brunswick can boost his or her profile by acquiring a Master’s degree from a Canadian university. This tech professional can boost the chances of being nominated for PR by securing an IT-related role, such as computer programming at a New Brunswick-based tech firm.

The CRS points for such an expert would be higher than someone in the same field who has no connection to the province. In other words, the province will be more inclined to nominate the former than the latter. In the end, it is not simply about being skilled, as many highly skilled individuals are in Canada seeking permanent residence; it is about being the best fit for a province’s labour needs.

PNP Application Language Requirements

The language requirements for any of the streams in the PNP can vary. In general, the provinces nominate applicants who can integrate successfully into Canada. To this effect, applicants must be fluent in either English or French, depending on the stream. They’ll need to demonstrate their competence by taking any of the exams below:

  • TCF Canada
  • TEF Canada

The first two tests are English-based, whereas the last two are used to measure foreigners’ French language skills. They evaluate an applicant’s capability to converse, write, and listen in the language.


Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program is not difficult to understand. With proper research and planning, foreign-born professionals can apply, get selected, and become part of the country’s permanent population. There’s so much more to Canada than the majestic snow-capped mountains and lakes. Those looking for a career upgrade can consider moving to Canada, particularly if they are competent and willing to settle down.

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