Moscow (AFP) – While Russia has traditionally focused on arms and grain exports to Africa, it is now looking to broaden its activities and influence.
Here are four sectors likely to be discussed at the Russia-Africa Summit set for next Wednesday and Thursday in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
– Oil and gas –
Russia is one of the world’s top hydrocarbon producers and exporters through energy giants like Gazprom, Rosneft and Lukoil.
But with 65 percent of its territory covered with permafrost, exploration and extraction are costly, so Russia is eyeing up promising reserves in Africa.
Gazprom is working in Algeria, where it has discovered three gas fields, as well as in Libya, though its activities there have largely stalled since the war in 2011. The group is also interested in taking part in a project to build a gas pipeline linking Nigeria to Europe via Algeria.
Lukoil recently discovered a number of oil and gas deposits in Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Egypt.
For its part, Rosneft is investing in Egypt’s huge Zohr offshore gas field and is set to be involved in some 20 projects with Nigeria’s Oranto Petroleum energy group.
– Nuclear –
Africa is almost entirely lacking in atomic energy, with just one nuclear power station on the whole continent, in South Africa.
Russian-built nuclear power stations have a price advantage over Western competitors and its nuclear agency Rosatom offers, attractive financing deals to customer countries.
It has already signed preliminary agreements on nuclear projects with Egypt, Nigeria, Sudan, Kenya, Ghana, Zambia and Uganda.
So far only Egypt has signed an agreement to build a station, one with four reactors at Dabaa on the Mediterranean coast by 2028 or 2029.
The cost per plant could be prohibitive, but Rosatom says countries including Rwanda are showing “great interest” in smaller-capacity, less expensive nuclear power stations.
– Diamonds –
Rich in mineral resources, Russia has significant expertise in extraction that could be deployed in other countries.
The world’s top diamond producer, Russia’s Alrosa, founded the Catoca mine in Angola in 2003. The Russians even built a hydroelectric power station to provide electricity for its operations. Since 2014 Alrosa has also been searching for new deposits in the country.