MOSCOW, July 27 (KUNA) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed Thursday his country's readiness to provide needy African countries with free grain and to undertake the process of transporting it there as well.
In a speech during the opening session of the Russia-Africa summit, which began in St. Petersburg and was broadcast by Russian television, Putin said, "In the coming months, we will be able to ensure free supplies of 25,000 to 50,000 tons of grain to Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Mali, Somalia, Central African Republic and Eritrea," free of charge, and transporting them there for free.
Russia produced 150 million tons of grain last year, of which 60 million tons were exported, while Ukraine produced 47 million tons, of which 17 million tons were exported, Putin pointed out.
Russia produces about 20 percent of grain in the world and contributes greatly to ensuring food security and is a reliable source of foodstuffs and fertilizers, he added, stressing that Russia is also seeking to develop a fair system for distributing resources and preventing a global food crisis.
Putin expressed Russia's interest in developing ties with African countries in the field of energy, pointing out that Soviet and Russian experts contributed to building energy complexes in Angola, Egypt, Ethiopia and other countries of the continent, with a combined production capacity of about 4.6 gigawatts, which is equivalent to a quarter of the production capacities in Africa.
There are 30 promising energy projects in Africa, which are being implemented with the help of Russian experts in 16 African countries, with a production capacity of 3.7 gigawatts, he also pointed out.
The Russian company RusHydro is offering to African countries to complete the designs of power stations, modernize them and supply them with equipment, while the companies Gazprom, Rosneft, Lukoil and Zarubezhneft are investing in oil and gas fields in Algeria, Egypt, Cameroon, Nigeria and Congo, he mentioned.
Russia has doubled exports of crude oil, liquid gas and oil derivatives to Africa at a rate of 2.6 times over the past two years, he added, expressing his hope that the project of establishing the Russian industrial zone in Egypt would be completed.
Putin conveyed Russia's interest in expanding the base of cooperation with Africa in the field of information security, artificial intelligence and digital economy, pointing to the importance of moving to trade exchange with African countries in national currencies, including the ruble, in order to stimulate trade and economic ties.
Russia plans to open branches of major Russian universities in multiple African countries, he said, noting that 35,000 African students are currently receiving their education in Russian universities and institutes, as Russia will provide 4,700 scholarships next year to African countries.
The Chairman of the African Union, President of Comoros Azali Assoumani, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export-Import Bank Benedict Oramah, President of the New Development Bank Dilma Rousseff and Patriarch of All Russia Alexy II participated in the opening session. (end)