SCRAMBLE FOR AFRICA

From Russia with love

Last week Putin made his ''late-cycle'' Play for Africa hosting a Russia Africa Summit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi

In Summary
  • This is not accidental, as Africa increasingly becomes a continent of opportunities
  • Between 2006 and 2018 Russia's trade with Africa increased by 335 per cent, more than both China's and India's
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting of the State Council on improving the general education system in the country at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, December 23, 2015. Photo/REUTERS
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting of the State Council on improving the general education system in the country at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, December 23, 2015. Photo/REUTERS

President Putin, whom I amongst others believe moved the needle sufficiently to put Trump into the White House.

Putin's assets range from Marine Le Pen to the Movimento 5 Stelle in Italy and if there are Barbarians at the gates of Fortress Europe, they do belong to Vladimir.

His Syrian intervention on behalf of Bashar Assad has lasted 48 months so far and the Optics of US Military vehicles departing in a hail of tomatoes] and Russian military vehicles patrolling precisely the same area a few minutes later sums it up.

Last week Putin made his ''late-cycle'' Play for Africa hosting a Russia Africa Summit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. 

“Late to the party: Russia’s return to Africa.” tweeted @pstronski. Putin in an interview with state-run news service Tass, said  “Indeed, interest in developing the relations with African countries is currently visible not only on the part of Western Europe, the US and [China] but also on the part of India, Turkey, the Gulf states, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Israel and Brazil.

“This is not accidental, as Africa increasingly becomes a continent of opportunities.

''These opportunities include natural resources, infrastructure development and increasing consumer demand from a growing population, Putin specified.

But, he said, Russia was going to be a different kind of superpower, one that does not engage in “pressure, intimidation and blackmail” to “exploit” sovereign African governments.

“Our African agenda is positive and future-oriented. We do not ally with someone against someone else, and we strongly oppose any geopolitical games involving Africa.”

Putin's linguistics is an art form and I imagine he buttressed the above points by discreetly showing his visitors a photo of a dead Gaddafi and maybe he dwelled a little on the bottle and then a Photo of a spritely Bashar Assad and would surely not even have had to ask the question; what's the difference?

Between 2006 and 2018 Russia's trade with Africa increased by 335 per cent, more than both China's and India's according to the  Espresso Economist.

Russia is now Africa's leading supplier of arms. According to the Swedish think tank SIPRI, between 2012 and 2016 Russia had become the largest supplier of arms to Africa, accounting for 35 percent of arms exports to the region, way ahead of China (17 per cent), the United States (9.6 per cent), and France (6.9 per cent).

Exports of Russian-made weapons and military hardware to Africa amount currently to  $4.6 billion annually, with a contract portfolio worth over $50 billion. The Russian arms trade with Africa doubled compared with 2012.

Russia is the world’s largest wheat exporter and will surely ramp up its supplies of grain and fertiliser to meet demand that is rising in step with Africa’s booming population.Russia’s clout on African soil runs on many tracks, and its expansion is geared primarily towards hybrid activities.

In Moscow’s offer for Africa are mercenaries, military equipment, mining investments, nuclear power plants, and railway connections.

“Russia regards Africa as an important and active participant in the emerging polycentric architecture of the world order and an ally in protecting international law against attempts to undermine it,” said Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov back in November 2018.

The Spokesman for the Egyptian Presidency gushed ''Russia has white hands in Africa''.Recently we have seen Russian interventions in the Central African Republic (CAR. 

In July this year, a three-minute animated video appeared on YouTube. Called Lionbear, the cartoon was aimed at children and told the story of a brave but beleaguered Central African lion, who was fighting a losing battle against a pack of hungry hyenas. Luckily the lion had a friend who came to the rescue — the strong Russian bear. The bear fights off the hyenas brings peace to the land and everyone lives happily ever after.

The video was produced by Lobaye Invest, a Russian mining company with links to the Wagner Group. Lobaye runs a radio station in the CAR, and organised a Miss CAR pageant. But, as a CNN investigation reported this year, Lobaye also funds the 250 Russian mercenaries who are stationed in the country.

“The dividend for Lobaye Invest: generous concessions to explore for diamonds and gold in a country rich in mineral wealth,” it reported. The Russian mercenaries are officially there to train the CAR’s national army.

But their activities in the country are shrouded in secrecy, and when three Russian journalists traveled there to investigate they were murdered.[Mail and Guardian Simon Allison] I would argue Putin's timing is exquisite and optimal and his Model has an exponential ROI. The Warsaw Institute headlined its article Russia in Africa: Weapons, Mercenaries, Spin Doctors.

Russia’s clout on African soil runs on many tracks, and its expansion is geared primarily towards hybrid activities. In Moscow’s offer for Africa are mercenaries, military equipment, mining investments, nuclear power plants, and railway connections.

Andrew Korybko writes Moscow invaluably fills the much-needed niche of providing its partners there with “Democratic Security”, or in other words, the cost-effective and low-commitment capabilities needed to thwart colour revolutions and resolve unconventional Wars (collectively referred to as Hybrid War).

To simplify, Russia’s “political technologists” have reportedly devised bespoke solutions for confronting incipient and ongoing color revolutions, just like its private military contractors (PMCs) have supposedly done the same when it comes to ending insurgencies.

Once we look through the Optics of two nuclear-capable supersonic bombers belonging to the Russian Air Force landing in Pretoria for the aircraft’s first-ever landing on the African continent and, according to an embassy official, only the second country in which it has made a public appearance outside of Russia.

The first was Venezuela. Then we need to see this move for what it is. It is meaningful.

Where Xi is fed up and speaks about the ''The End of Vanity'' because the ROI [outside commodities and telecoms for China] is negative, Putin has created a hybrid model with an exponential ROI. I would imagine he is on speed dial.