Africa is West’s Excuse to Boost Grain Deal & Moscow’s Equal Partner, SA Youth Leader Says

Africa is West's Excuse to Boost Grain Deal & Moscow's Equal Partner, SA Youth Leader Says
Africa is West's Excuse to Boost Grain Deal & Moscow's Equal Partner, SA Youth Leader Says

Africa-Press – Rwanda. On March 19 and 20, Moscow is hosting the second Russia-Africa International Parliamentary Conference. The event brought together Russian and African experts, as well as representatives of business and youth communities, who shared their opinions on global politics and how to boost cooperation between Russia and African states.

The West used Africa as an excuse to speed up the grain agreement, promising to ensure food supplies to countries in need, but eventually failing to live up to its commitments, says Khulekani Skosana, South African youth leader, vice president of the International Union of Socialist Youth, in an interview with Sputnik.

The deal on the provision of a humanitarian sea corridor for ships exporting food and fertilizers from Ukrainian Black Sea ports was signed by Russia, Ukraine, Turkiye, and the UN in July 2022. According to Skosana, the agreement was intended “to make sure that people who are starving and who need the grain receive it,” especially those in Africa. However, most of the grain, he underlines, went to European countries.

“The West and Europe have used Africa as an excuse to facilitate the grain agreement, saying that it will be sent to Africa, but none of it has arrived in the continent,” he says.

Skosana, who went to Moscow to participate in the second Russia-Africa International Parliamentary Conference, notes that he sees it as a platform for inaugurating a direct dialogue between Russia and African countries on food security and supplies to the continent. He believes that Russia, as one of the signatories to the agreement, has intentions to help countries truly facing food insecurity.

In this regard, he states, the conversation within the framework of the Russia-Africa Conference is a great opportunity to talk directly, “without a man in the middle,” on ways of ensuring the provision of grain to Africa.

He also mentions other areas of cooperation between Moscow and African states, stressing that Russia has long been helping the continent to facilitate the end of conflicts and ensure security. Skosana notes that Russian expertise in the military sphere, its strategies, and the security exchange it promotes “would be prudent and important” in terms of protecting the sovereignty of Africans.

“As much as the former USSR has been important in assisting African countries defeat colonialism, Russia, the Russian Federation is important in helping Africa sustain and maintain peace and stability, and democracy in the continent,” Skosana elaborates.

The youth leader dubs Russia as a good friend of Africa, with which the latter is happy to cooperate, willing to further foster these relationships. He underlines that the main feature of Russia-Africa cooperation is that Moscow considers its partners as equals, “instead of being an instructor and dictator of Africa.” This kind of behavior should be seen as a role model for countries across the globe, he explains.

“We appreciate the Russians because they treat Africans as equals and they don’t treat Africans as subjects. And we think that more superpowers and first world countries need to learn from how Russia is able to engage with Africa,” he says.

Talking about his expectations of what the conference could bring about, Skosana notes that the forum will provide for an enriched conversation between Russians and Africans, who “have a very beautiful and seamless historical relationship” that is continuing to deepen. In particular, he expects that the conference will allow to enhance political and economic relations “in terms of building a multipolar world, and ensuring peace, stability and prosperity for everyone.”

Noting that the forum is a follow-up to the previous International Russia-Africa Parliamentary Conference, he states that it is a good way of developing what the countries had agreed on before. In particular, he hopes that the forum will promote Russia-Africa cooperation in education, making it possible for more young Africans to study in Russia.

Moreover, he says that the discussions at the conference could also touch upon the topic of how to empower young people from Russia and Africa to do business with each other and expand “the opportunities that they can all exploit in mutual benefit.”

Therefore, Skosana highlights, there are a lot of expectations concerning the event. He says that he is quite ecstatic to take part in the conference, looking forward “to all the good conversations,” in particular, on the topic of how to expand the opportunities of youth and their participation in decision-making process.

“What we want is to see more and more young people being involved and sitting at the table where decisions are taken. We think that if we are to build a world where there is progress, then there must be involvement of young people,” he stresses.

He also notes that his country, South Africa, and Russia need to enhance cooperation and learn from each other in the field of youth empowerment. He underlines that the future of the continent depends on younger generations and on the extent of their involvement in political life.

About 70% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa is young people under the age of 30, he explains, saying that this indicates the need to involve the youth in business, politics, and decision-making. In this regard, he states, the conference is a good opportunity to advance these ideas.

Speaking about the events to come, Skosana states that this year is very important to South Africa as after this forum, the country will be hosting the BRICS summit in Durban in August. In this light, he says, the discussions and the agreements between the South African parliament and the Russian State Duma could be “a precursor” for the upcoming heads of state summit.

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