Are China and Russia Giant Competitors in Africa?

Image

By Kestér Kenn Klomegâh

Russia has to acknowledge the difference between illusions and realities in the geopolitical games. It has to recognize and thoroughly analyse and manage the current economic rivalry and competition among foreign players across Africa. It has, over these several years, been taking steps to uplift or broaden economic cooperation inside Africa.

In late June, Interfax News Agency reported, sourcing Roscosmos Head Yury Borisov, that Russia would sign a full-scale space cooperation agreement with Africa during the July summit. “We are touring African states ahead of this forum (Russia-Africa) and have agreed with the colleague from the Egyptian agency to draft a full-scale agreement on a broad range of possible relations in the space industry,” the press service quoted Borisov as saying.

In another related development, Russian giant Gazprom has shown a preparedness to help African countries develop gas production. It indicated this interest several years ago; Gazprom officials have visited several African countries in connection with this energy sector. It has signed an agreement referred to as NiGaz with the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The title of the project offered absolutely nothing, no gas production until today in this West African country.

Research shows that Nigaz was established in 2009 as a joint venture between the Russian gas company Gazprom EP International B.V. (100% affiliate of OAO Gazprom) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. It planned to invest $2.5 billion to build oil and gas refineries, pipelines and gas power stations in Nigeria. Launching the company, Dmitry Medvedev, then president, announced his intention to form a major energy partnership with Nigeria at a meeting in Abuja with Nigerian president Umaru Yar’Adua.

Gazprom is prepared to help develop natural gas production and use in African countries, the Russian gas giant said at an international roundtable in Johannesburg on the benefits of gas for consumers and the economy. The roundtable was attended by representatives of business communities, experts and reporters from nine African countries, including Algeria, Angola, Ghana, Egypt, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania and South Africa.

“Taking into account the South African government’s policy to decarbonize the economy, gas could become an effective means of meeting demand for energy since renewable energy sources cannot ensure uninterrupted supplies. In this regard, I believe that Gazprom’s experience implementing liquefied natural gas and gas pipeline construction projects could be of interest to South African partners,” Russian Ambassador Ilya Rogachev was quoted as saying in the press release.

“Greater use of natural gas will help Africa solve a whole range of problems, from economic to social and environmental. We believe that Africa should fully discover the advantages of this fuel for itself,” the head of Gazprom’s foreign economic activities department, Dmitry Khandoga, said.

“We see potential in cooperation with African countries and can offer our unique experience and technological know-how. Gazprom is open to discussing constructive and mutually beneficial proposals that would facilitate economic development and improve the lives of people in African countries,” Khandoga said.

The chairman of the African Energy Chamber, NJ Ayuk, said more than 600 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa do not have electricity, and 900 million people, most of them women, do not have access to clean cooking technologies. Either they do not exist, or they are insufficient, and solving this problem alone is sufficient reason to use the continent’s rich gas reserves, he said.

In Africa, which needs industrialization, affordable and abundant natural gas will help create many new jobs and opportunities for capacity building, economic diversification and growth, Ayuk said.

The participants discussed the role of natural gas in Africa’s sustainable development. It was noted that the availability of energy remains a problem in most countries on the continent, and its consumption is several times lower than the global average.

Meanwhile, experts estimate that Africa will account for more than 60% of global population growth by 2050. Along with urbanization in the region, there is expected to be substantial economic growth, which will be accompanied by a twofold increase in energy consumption. Demand for natural gas is expected to grow by 150%.

Increasing natural gas production will help meet the growing energy demand, roundtable participants said. “However, at present most of the gas extracted here is exported. For example, one in three residents of Nigeria, Africa’s largest LNG exporter, does not have access to energy. Therefore, it is the accessibility of energy for industry and households that will be of foremost importance for Africa’s dynamic development,” Gazprom said.

With the help of China, a number of African countries, through bilateral agreements, now have the capacity to assemble, integrate and test satellites. This will enable them to position themselves as the continent’s space industry powerhouse. Quiet recently, Egypt took delivery of two China-funded prototypes for the MisrSat-2 satellite project on June 25.

The satellites will be assembled and tested at a centre, also financed by China, at the Egyptian Space Agency near the country’s new capital city. China provided a $74 million grant for the project, as well as $68 million for the satellite assembly, integration, and test centre to be built.

Over the past three months, engineers from Egypt and the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation have been conducting tests on three MisrSat-2 satellite models – two prototypes and a flight model.

Chinese ambassador to Egypt, Liao Liqiang, said Egypt would be the first African nation that could assemble, integrate and test satellites. “Egypt is the first country to which China handed over the satellite cooperation project outside China, and the first country with which China cooperated to complete the large-scale trial operation of the satellite outside China,” Liao said at the ceremony to present the grant to the Egyptian government.

Media reports further said that Beijing was keen to work with Egypt to advance cooperation in space and to continue deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two nations. The satellite is expected to be launched from China in October.

Nigerian space scientist Temidayo Oniosun said China had taken a prominent role in partnering with African institutions to develop their space programmes. He said that in addition to Egypt, China had bilateral agreements with 13 other African countries covering space technology, training and ground infrastructure.

“Like other countries such as Russia, the United States and Europe, China is always exploring new business opportunities on the continent,” Oniosun said, adding that the African space industry was growing – generating about $20 billion in annual revenue – and everyone wanted a slice of it. “It is also a critical tool for international diplomacy, and this defines China’s long-term plan on the continent,” he said.

“Competition among key African states ‘racing’ to become leaders in this sector, and competition among external players – especially China and France – to secure contracts in Africa,” noted President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi. In fact, Egypt is strategically placed to be a centre for satellite assembly since it has access to Europe and Africa. It is also bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Red Sea to the East.

China had 28 space agreements with African nations – the most of any country – spanning everything from earth observation and capacity development to satellite navigation, communication and astronomy. It boosts cooperation on space technology, promotes Africa’s space infrastructure development, and uses the space industry to drive social development and improve people’s living standards.

Last year the South African Institute of International Affairs, a reputable policy think tank, said in its report that “Russia looks more like a ‘virtual great power’ than a genuine challenger to European, American and Chinese influence.”

It also highlighted the fact that Russia is using Africa as a geopolitical playing field, soliciting support for invading neighbouring Ukraine, and warned African leaders that Russia might not, in practical terms, deliver on its pledges and implement promptly bilateral agreements.

Professors Irina O. Abramova and Leonid L. Fituni, both from the Institute for African Studies under the Russian Academy of Sciences, in a report last year, reminded the authorities, who are squeezed between illusions and realities, about their policy ambitions in Africa. And that high-ranking Russian officials need to change their approach towards Africa.

The fact that African countries consider Russia a reliable economic partner, and it is necessary to interact with African public and private businesses on a mutually beneficial basis. In this regard, Russian initiatives should be supported by real steps and not be limited to verbal declarations about the “return of Russia to Africa,” especially after the Sochi gathering, which was described as very symbolic, they wrote in the report.

The first symbolic first summit at the Black Sea city of Sochi, indeed, fêted heads of state from 43 African countries and showcased Moscow’s great power ambitions. At the tail-end of it, both Russia and Africa adopted a joint declaration, a comprehensive document that outlines the key objectives and necessary tasks to raise assertively the entire relations to a new qualitative level. Several agreements were also signed with African countries. And yet Russian officials are desirously looking to sign more new agreements during the next summit.

And, of course, this late July, African leaders and corporate businesses will be heading to St. Petersburg, the second largest city in Russia, primarily to discuss ways to end the Russia-Ukraine crisis and its related adverse impact on Africa’s economy and across the world. Secondly, they will be looking strategically to negotiate for “no-cost delivery” of grains and wheat and, most possibly, access to advanced technology and investment in the economic sectors. Third, close-ups of the two-day gathering with memorable group photographs.

What do potential external players need? What does Africa Want from foreign countries? Beyond signing bilateral agreements, what next? With the emerging challenges and geopolitical changes in this evolving multipolar world, it is certainly true that Russia has to take practical steps towards interconnecting, to build better multi-dimensional relationships with Africa.

In the 21st century, Africa does not need anti-Western rhetoric. It has to address sustainable development goals, especially rising youth unemployment, food security, energy deficits, and improved infrastructure. Simply anti-Western slogans will never facilitate its economic development. The best way to fight ‘neo-colonialism’ is to invest in competitive sectors where the United States and Europe are showing similar interests.

On a broader scale, the African Union (AU), an organization which unites sovereign states across Africa, also needs to adopt a new policy strategy with Russia. In reality, and taking cognizance of the huge untapped natural resources, and combined with the available human capital, Africa’s sectors are presently crying for drastic economic transformation to take care of the increasing demands of the estimated 1.4 billion population.

Share
Related Stories
Image
19-February-2024

Practical Ideas of Russian-African Club for Strengthening Russia-Africa Relations

By Gouend Louis On February 8, the Russian-African Club of MSU named after M.V. Lomonosov held an International Conference: “Development of cultural and humanitarian cooperation between Russia and African countries.” The event took place at the Faculty of Global Processes of Moscow State University. The conference was held as part of the implementation of the decisions of the Second Summit and the Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum, which was held on July 27-28, 2023. in St. Petersburg. The event was supported by the Secretariat of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. The

Image
18-January-2024

Russia Improving Beneficial Ties With Africa

By Kestér Kenn Klomegâh Most of African political leaders are now reacting to post-Soviet politics and emerging economic possibilities in Russia. With emerging multipolarism, some leaders are already adapting to the fast-changing situation and adjusting policies that would support their development goals and effectively work on their election pledges. Despite the internal development hurdles, the majority are shifting from the Western and European alliances, looking forward towards cooperating with countries in the Global South. Professor Vladimir Shubin, Institute for African Studies under the Russian Academy of Sciences, has raised some serious issues in Russian-African relations that need careful consideration. In

Image
22-January-2024

Tinubu Urges Equitable Capital Access for Developing Countries

By Adedapo Adesanya President Bola Tinubu has called for equitable access to capital for developing countries, saying such will provide the much-needed resources for development. Speaking at the 19th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement at the weekend in Kampala, Uganda, the Nigerian leader, however, pointed out that the developing world is not looking for sympathy or begging, but fair and equal opportunity. Chaired by Ugandan President, Mr Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, this year’s summit was attended by many presidents and heads of government. The Non-Aligned Movement is the largest gathering of countries, second only to

More Stories
Image
05-January-2021

United Capital Appoints Ex-CBN Director to Board

By Ahmed Rahma A leading financial service group in Africa, United Capital Plc, has appointed two persons to its board of directors with immediate effect. The two appointees Mr Dipo Fatokun and Ms Sutura Aisha Bello. They will be on the board as independent non-executive directors, a statement from the firm disclosed. Mr Fatokun, having worked in different capacities at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has about 30 years’ experience in the financial services industry. Prior to his appointment, he was the Director, Banking Services Department at the apex bank. Mr Fatokun obtained a B.Sc. in Accounting from the

Image
20-April-2017

Dow May Look To Reverse Recent Downward Trend

Investors Hub The major US index futures are pointing to a higher opening on Thursday following the mixed performance seen in the previous session. Traders may look to pick up stocks at reduced levels following the recent downward trend by the Dow, which ended the previous session at its lowest closing level in two months. Stocks turned in a mixed performance during trading on Wednesday, as traders reacted to the latest earnings news as well a steep drop by the price of crude oil. The major averages eventually ended the session on opposite sides of the unchanged line. While the

Image
22-April-2021

Over 4 million Investors’ Accounts Have Incomplete KYC Data—SEC

By Aduragbemi Omiyale More than 4 million accounts opened by investors with stockbrokers in Nigeria are with incomplete know-your-customer (KYC) data. This information was revealed by the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Lamido Yuguda. He, therefore, reminded capital market operators (CMOs) to ensure they ask their clients to update their accounts with the necessary information. Mr Yuguda reminded the operators that the directive on the KYC update was still in effect. “We have noted that the level of compliance has been low. Despite several engagements, we realised that as at April 8, 2021, there were still

Image
04-March-2021

Japaul, 29 Other Stocks Shred Market by 0.44%

By Dipo Olowookere Transactions on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) closed bearish on Wednesday following the losses recorded by 30 equities on the platform. Japaul was the worst-performing stock at the midweek session, losing 10.00 per cent of its share value to settle for the day at 54 kobo per unit. NEM Insurance depreciated by 9.91 per cent to close at N1.91 per unit, Champion Breweries further lost 9.76 per cent to trade at N1.85 per share, NPF Microfinance Bank declined by 9.47 per cent to N1.72 per unit, while Linkage Assurance tripped by 8.93 per cent

Image
02-November-2017

Stanbic IBTC Gives Prosthetic Limbs, Education Trust Funds to 20 Children

By Dipo Olowookere No fewer than 20 children with limb differences have been provided with prosthetic limbs and education trust funds by Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc, a member of Standard Bank Group. The gesture was done under the firm’s signature corporate and investment initiative, ‘Together4 A Limb’. The provisions, the financial institution said, formed part of its commitment to see that every Nigerian child is given the opportunity to live a productive and fulfilled life. A 4-kilometre charity walk to raise public awareness of children without limbs or limb differences was flagged off by the Guest of Honour, the Minister

Image
02-September-2022

Police to Arraign Nigerian Rapper Ice Prince for Assault

By Modupe Gbadeyanka A Nigerian rapper, Mr Panshak Henry Zamani, otherwise known as Ice Prince, has been arrested by officials of the Nigeria Police Force, Lagos Command. The music act was apprehended by the security operatives over an alleged assault of a policeman, according to a statement issued by the spokesman of the command, Mr Benjamin Hundeyin. Mr Hundeyin alleged that Ice Prince was driving without a number place and after he was approached, he abducted the policeman and threatened to throw him in a river. “At 3 am today, Ice Prince was stopped for driving without license plates. He

Image
20-June-2022

2022’s Top Rated South African Online Casinos with the Biggest Sign-Up Bonuses: Free No Deposit Bonus Analysis

SouthAfricanCasinos.co.za announces the release of a comprehensive review detailing the best sign-up no deposit bonuses at top-rated SA online casinos. Every month, millions of South Africans play at their favorite online gambling sites. There are scores of such sites that support the South African Rand (ZAR) currency, local banking options and South African-friendly online casino games. Throw into the mix the many different online casino bonuses available at these sites, and it becomes quite a mission to find the best South African online casinos with the biggest no deposit sign-up bonuses. SouthAfricanCasinos.co.za took it upon itself to review the best

Image
18-September-2020

Zenith Bank CEO, Director Get Additional 3 Million Shares

By Adedapo Adesanya The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Zenith Bank, Mr Ebenezer Onyeagwu, has purchased more stocks of the financial institution with the acquisition of one million units. The company disclosed this in a notice to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Thursday. The disclosure signed by the scribe, Mr Micheal Osilama Otu, stated that the Zenith Bank chief made the purchase in two tranches on Wednesday, September 16. The breakdown of the transaction showed that Mr Onyeagwu first purchased 500,000 units at N17.10 each and another 500,000 units at N17 each. Equally, an Executive Director of

Ad
Ad
Recent Stories
Image
23-February-2024

Applications Open for AIG Public Leaders Programme

By Aduragbemi Omiyale Eligible African public servants have been urged to submit their applications for the AIG Public Leaders Programme Cohort 4 before Tuesday, April 30, 2024. This call for entries was made by Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation and the applications are to be filed through www.aigimoukhuedefoundation.org/leaders-programme, a statement disclosed. Applicants must be working in the public sector in Africa, with a minimum of seven years of active service, at grade levels 12-17, and aged between 35-50 years at the time of application. The AIG Public Leaders Programme is tailored for senior public leaders and delivered in partnership with the Blavatnik School

Image
23-February-2024

Okpe Leaders Want Completion of Sapele Polytechnic, University in Orerokpe

By Henry Ovie The Delta State Governor, Mr Sheriff Oborevwori, has been tasked to make efforts to complete the Sapele Polytechnic, which was started by the administration of Mr Emmanuel Uduaghan. This call was made by some prominent leaders from the Okpe kingdom, who said the completion of the school and the establishment of a university in Orerokpe would assuage, “to some extent,” the people of the areas, who they said have been “historically neglected.” On Thursday, the leaders held a crucial meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Okpe Union worldwide. They commended Mr Oborevwori for responding

Image
23-February-2024

HabariPay Take-on-Squad Hackathon 1.0 Produces Three Winners

By Modupe Gbadeyanka Three winners have emerged in the inaugural Take-on-Squad Hackathon 1.0 coding event organised by HabariPay Limited after intense collaboration, innovation, and problem-solving at the GTCO Training Complex, Tayo’s Plaza, Abeokuta, Ogun State, from January 18 to 20, 2024. Business Post reports that the three winning teams are Team Within, Team X, and Team Storepoint. Each team was selected based on real-world applicability, technical creativity, user experience, and teamwork. Team Storepoint, represented by Haruna Faruk and Ladipo Samuel from the University of Lagos, secured third position and a prize of N1 million. Their winning solution, Storepoint, facilitates quick

Image
23-February-2024

Group Mourns OAU’s Veterinary Technologist Olabode Olawuyi

By Modupe Gbadeyanka The Nigeria Biodiversity Conservation Alliance (NBCA) has expressed sadness over the death of the Veterinary Technologist of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Mr Olabode Olawuyi, a few days ago. Mr Olawuyi was fatally mauled by a lion at the Zoological Garden of the institution. In a statement signed by the National President of the Nigerian Association of Zoological Gardens and Wildlife Parks (NAZAP), Mr Dipo Bali, the group said the deceased was a man who was dedicated to his job and the organisations he belonged to in his lifetime. Mr Olawuyi, apart from being a

Image
23-February-2024

NUPENG Seeks EFCC Support to Tackle Illegal Oil Bunkering

By Adedapo Adesanya Following its fight against foreign exchange speculators and hoarders, the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has sought the collaboration of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the fight against illegal oil bunkering in the country. The collaboration was sought when the National President of NUPENG, Mr Williams Akporeha, led members of his executive council to the corporate headquarters of the anti-graft agency on a courtesy visit. Mr Akporeha mentioned the challenges involved in the movement of petroleum products across the country and appealed to the EFCC to always come to the

Image
23-February-2024

SON Launches Facility to Test Quality of Generators, Transformers

By Adedapo Adesanya The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has inaugurated a facility to test generators and power transformers sold in the Nigerian electricity market. Speaking at the inauguration of SON Mobile Generators Testing Laboratory and Mobile Transformer Equipment on Thursday, the Director-General of the agency, Mr Ifeanyi Okeke, said it was no longer business as usual for assemblers and importers of these products. He said it was important for these products to meet the quality benchmarks, stressing that buyers must have value for their money. According to him, all information supplied on generators and transformers will be verified and

Image
23-February-2024

Port Harcourt Refinery to be Fully Operational Soon—FG

By Adedapo Adesanya  The federal government has disclosed that the Port Harcourt Refinery should become operational very soon as it has attained 80 per cent completion. The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mrs Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, during a tour of the facility, disclosed that the refinery would produce two million litres of Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise known as petrol, and 2.2 million litres of diesel per day upon resuming operations. In a statement by the Director of Press and Public Relations in the Federal Ministry, Mr Olajide Oshundun, it was further stated that the old plant should produce 54,000

Image
23-February-2024

Nigeria Moves to Crash Cooking Gas Price

 By Adedapo Adesanya Nigeria is considering taking a major step aimed at crashing the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), also known as cooking gas, to ease the sufferings of its citizens. The Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Gas), Mr Ekperikpe Ekpo, speaking at the opening of its Internal Stakeholders’ Workshop on Thursday in Abuja, disclosed that the government would most likely ban the exportation of the commodity to keep the price lower than its current level. Currently, prices range between N1,300 per kg to N1,400 per kg. “All LPG produced within the country will have to be domesticated and

Image
23-February-2024

How MultiChoice Empowers Nigerian Youth Through Creative Investment

As global populations age, Africa remains a bastion of youthful promise, with around 70% of the continent’s population below the age of 30. This youthful demographic can be an asset – but only if it is developed, by empowering young people through training, and by giving them a stake in the growth of their countries’ economies. Helping to develop young people’s abilities and expanding the pool of skills is also in the interests of industry and big business. Over the years, the Federal government of Nigeria embarked on youth empowerment initiatives to harness the skills and energy of Nigerian youths

Image
23-February-2024

Eva Adelaja Girls’ At 60: Old Students Donate to Orphanage, Thrill Students

By Adedapo Adesanya It has been an eventful celebration at the ongoing 6oth Anniversary of Eva Adelaja Girls’ Secondary Grammar School, Bariga, Lagos. The event was planned to celebrate the institution established by the late educator, Mrs Evangeline Adebayo Adelaja, in 1964. Particular resplendent in this celebration are the alumni of the school, the Eva Adelaja Girls’ Secondary Grammar School Old Girls’ Association, which have been on the ground to ensure that the planned activities go smoothly. The event, which kicked off with the Praise Day and Community Hymn Singing held at Chapel of Christ the Light in Alausa, Ikeja,