Putin Greets African Union Summit, Calls It ‘Effective Mechanism for Multilateral Cooperation’

Putin Greets African Union Summit, Calls It 'Effective Mechanism for Multilateral Cooperation'
Putin Greets African Union Summit, Calls It 'Effective Mechanism for Multilateral Cooperation'

Africa-Press – Cape verde. The two-day 36th African Union (AU) Summit, which focuses primarily on economic issues, began in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Saturday chaired by Senegalese President Macky Sall.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has greeted African heads of state and governments participating in the African Union Assembly, noting that the organization has established itself as an effective mechanism for multilateral political, economic and humanitarian cooperation.

Putin also noted that for Russia, African countries have always been and remain important and reliable partners, with whom Moscow is united by a desire to build a just multipolar world “based on true equality and the rule of international law,” as well as free from discrimination, forceful dictate and sanctions pressure.

The Russian president also noted that the Russia-Africa summit held in 2019 created good conditions to increase friendly ties both at the bilateral level and on a multilateral basis. Putin expressed confidence that the second meeting in this format, which will be held in St. Petersburg in July, will help define new tasks to expand Russia’s cooperation with African partners in various areas.

The AU Summit in Addis Ababa was preceded by the AU foreign ministers format held on February 15–16. The ministers discussed the continent’s most pressing problems, such as the rise in insecurity and the need to strengthen economic links.

African foreign ministers called for concerted efforts to improve the continent’s standing in the world, advance continental integration, and foster inter-regional cooperation.

The main theme of the ongoing summit is the acceleration of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The AfCFTA agreement, which provides for the elimination of tariffs and trade barriers, was signed in the spring of 2018 and, after ratification, became legally binding in the summer of the following year. The practical operation of the AfCFTA began on January 1, 2021. The agreement provides for the gradual connection to AfCFTA of all new sectors of the economies of African countries.

The summit is expected to give an additional impetus to the continental free trade area, including its financial component. In addition, there is a plan to create a single African currency. AfCFTA is the world’s largest international free trade area in terms of the number of participating countries. It unites 54 states with a total population of 1.27 billion people and a total GDP of $3.4 trillion.

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