Moscow is looking to cement its influence on the Africa continent as China also goes after commodities and basing rights in the region.
On the night before African leaders meet with Putin in the Russian capital, the Kremlin has decided to cancel the debt of its African partner Ethiopia.
Putin made the announcement on the eve of the first-ever Russia Africa Summit, which will bring more than 50 African leaders to Sochi on Oct. 23-24. Speaking with the state-run TASS news agency, Putin said that developing mutually beneficial ties with African countries is among Russia’s top foreign policy priorities, reported The Moscow Times.
Ethiopia’s $163.6 million debt will soon be written off under Russia’s debt-for-development program, he said. Mozambique, Madagascar and Tanzania have already had their debts canceled under this program.
“It was not only an act of generosity, but also a manifestation of pragmatism, because many of the African states were not able to pay interest on these loans,” he said.
Russia has been active in Libya, the Central African Republic (CAR) and other locals as Russian mercenary groups attempt to get control of oil deposits and other commodities.
Several journalists were murdered in CAR last year for reporting on the activities of the Wagner Group, headed by ‘Putin’s Chef’ Yevgeny Prigozhin, an oligarch close to the Russian leader.
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