By Kester Kenn Klomegah in Moscow
Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Russia would sign a new Memorandum of Understanding during an investment forum planned for October 23 in South Africa aimed at creating a unified regional platform to share with potential Russian businesses information on investment opportunities and investment climate in the SADC region.
The Memorandum of Understanding envisages strengthening ties in a broad range of fields and it further shows that SADC remains comparatively as one of Russia’s key regional partners in Africa.
According to the investment forum organisers, it is also part of the corporate activities celebrating SADC and its leverage with the Russian Federation.
In the Russian Federation, 10 SADC member countries have their diplomatic offices namely Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Minister Plenipotentiary at the Embassy of the Republic of South Africa and the SADC Investment Programme Director, Henry William Short, said “the ambassadors have, indeed, worked hard to put SADC on a distinctive spotlight agenda of their host, Russia. Strengthening trade, investment and economic relations to the mutual benefit of both SADC countries and the Russian Federation remains high on the agenda of all SADC embassies in the Russian Federation.”
“We are delighted to host the business and investment community, and the aim is to build on the previous success, work towards building versatile partnerships and accelerate our collective sustainable growth through boosting valuable investment collaboration in the region,” he affirmed.
The investment forum is an effort by the Group of SADC Ambassadors in Moscow with support from the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Coordinating Committee on Economic Cooperation with Sub-Saharan Africa and the Africa Export Import Bank.
In line with SADC Industrial Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063, the key focused sectors chosen for panel discussions are: Regional Industrial Value Chains and Mining, Healthcare sector, Energy and Infrastructure Development, Finance and Logistics.
Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier that “Russia’s relations with African countries are progressing both on a bilateral basis and along the line of African regional organisations, primarily the African Union and the Southern African Development Community.”
He, however, acknowledged that Russia’s economic cooperation is not as far advanced as political ties but will do well to raise trade and economic ties to a high level of political cooperation by promoting joint activity in order to make broader use of the huge potential of Russian-African trade and investment cooperation.
On the other hand, Lavrov indicated that “Russia is not only committed to long-term cooperation but also ready for large-scale investments in the African markets with account of possible risks and high competition. Equally important is African businesspeople who are looking to work on the Russian market.”
The Southern African Development Community, an inter-governmental organisation headquartered in Gaborone in Botswana, has made its goal to further socio-economic cooperation and integration as well as political and security cooperation among 16 southern African states.