AFROCOM Chairman Igor Morozov outlines interim outcomes and perspectives for the Steering Committee
In an interview with the video channel of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Russian Senator Igor Morozov spoke about the results of AFROCOM's activities since the Committee resumed its work.

"A year and a half, even in the face of a coronavirus pandemic, is a long time. The first thing AFROCOM did was to analyse the work of our predecessors and outline the main ways of development in the face of great constraints both in our own country and on the African continent. At the outset, therefore, the key point was to establish contacts with the business community in African countries, with regional business support centres and with development agencies in our constituent entities.

What emerged first and foremost was that we know little about Africa and the enormous potential that modern Africa has at its disposal today. It is digital transformation, the Internet, online shopping and payments in virtually every sector of the African economy. Our entrepreneurs have had a hard time accepting this, because we are used to seeing the Black Continent as backward, somewhere on the margins of civilisation. In fact, this is not the case. The first online meetings between African partners and Russian entrepreneurs showed that they can cooperate primarily in IT technologies, in fintech, and in the development of artificial intelligence.

The opening of representative offices in 17 countries of the African continent has done its job, we have serious partners. Our entrepreneurs who live and work in Africa have become conduits for Russian business. And I believe that the links and business trips made by our regional business representatives have shown that Africa is waiting for us, it is a competitive and very effective market, and if we do not do it now, in 5 to 10 years, we will have an uphill battle for some segments of the African market," Morozov said.

The AFROCOM Chairman stressed the importance of the Russian Export Centre (REC) and reiterated the urgent need for the creation of a Russia-Africa Fund within the framework of the REC's activities.

Responding to a question on humanitarian missions, Morozov noted that humanitarian programmes should go along with, or even ahead of, business in their activities.

"We have agreed with Rossotrudnichestvo that as we develop trade houses and support centres for Russian business, we will help Rossotrudnichestvo establish Russian schools abroad. We already have our first agreement with MGRI - we have agreed to send the most promising African girls and boys to Artek every year. This is the potential that will replenish our universities. As part of this, we will hold a number of Olympiads, do online tests and talk to all those who would like to come to Russia. "Artek will show us the first results of this humanitarian work, which we want to extend to the whole of Africa through our offices and trading houses.

A key element of our humanitarian programme will be a trip to Djibouti. For the first time, a Muslim country has allocated five hectares for the construction of an Orthodox church on this ancient land. We plan to go to Djibouti in January with a humanitarian business mission, lay a stone and build a cell there within a year, which will be the basis for the development of the monastery on Djiboutian soil, which is the "gateway to Africa".

Everything starts precisely with faith. With faith in our great future when we return to Africa," added the Chairman of the Coordinating Committee.

Morozov also spoke about AFROCOM's participation in the Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum to be held in St Petersburg in November 2022.

"We have agreed with the Africa Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences that we will have a panel - our own exhibition of those export products and services that win first place in the competition held between the regions. This will be our shock mobile exposition for 2023, and I think any region will cooperate with us to organise this on the basis of our offices abroad. We will conduct the first experiment at the Summit Business Forum, because it is awaited both in Russian regions and in African countries," concluded Igor Morozov.

Full speech by Igor Morozov:

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