Riyaz Patel

The trade turnover between Russia and South Africa should be much higher than last year’s R14bn, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa Wednesday.

In 2018, bilateral trade climbed to 28.5% to $1bn, he said. “Of course, that is not enough, … that figure is too small. We can do much more and hopefully our today’s contacts will boost that development,” Putin said.

Ramaphosa said relations between democratic South Africa and Russia “spans many years and forged in struggle… In many ways a free South Africa is largely due the support it got from the people of Russia.”

Russia cooperates with South Africa in many areas, such as the development of resources, energy, industry, transport, agriculture and the humanitarian field, Putin said, adding that he finds it symbolic that the meeting is taking place on the sidelines of the first Russia-Africa summit.

Ramaphosa told Putin that South Africa “appreciates” his efforts in providing a platform to deepen economic development between Moscow and the continent, and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AcFTA) presents an opportunity for “African countries to participate with Russia in a meaningful way.”

Russia’s resort city of Sochi is hosting the inaugural Russia-Africa Summit, co-chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egypt’s head of state Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in his capacity as African Union (AU) Chairperson.


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