At the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Africa Center shines spotlight on Russian campaign to curry favor on the African continent
WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 27, 2023 — The Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, in partnership with the Policy Center for the New South (PCNS), has released new research on Russia’s influence in Africa. Amid the one-year anniversary of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, the new twin reports, for the first time published in both English and French, detail Russia’s wide-ranging security influence on the African continent.
The reports delve into the ways Russia has curried favor and influence with African countries – efforts that culminated in seventeen African countries abstaining from the March 2022 UN General Assembly vote on a resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This vote confirmed last week, and the growing influence of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (the BRICS country bloc) in the region, send a clear signal to western countries that Africans are not bound to a particular partner.
“Africa remains a crucial player in this new geopolitical order because of its natural resources and emerging business opportunities,” said Ambassador Rama Yade, director of the Africa Center. “The war in Ukraine has shown how important Africa can and will be as a strategic partner of the future – not only because of energy, but because they represent 30 percent of UN votes.”
The first report, “Russia’s influence in Africa, a security perspective,” was written by Atlantic Council nonresident fellow Sarah Daly. She contends that Russia’s increased engagement with African states poses several security challenges for both the continent and the international community. Daly finds that Russia’s increasing engagement with African states challenges Western interests in the region, including efforts to promote democracy, human rights, and good governance.
The second report, “Military relations between Russia and Africa, before and after the war in Ukraine,” by PCNS Senior Fellow Abdelhak Bassou, examines the evolution of military relations between Russia and Africa, both before and during the war in Ukraine. Bassou argues that military cooperation between Russia and African states has deep historical roots; his research identifies three phases in the development of these relations: the Cold War period, the post-Cold War period, and the period after the launch of the war in Ukraine.
The Africa Center officially launched the reports on February 21st at an event featuring keynote remarks from Major General Kenneth. P. Ekman, director of Strategy, Engagement, and Programs at the US-Africa Command.
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About the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center:
The Africa Center works to promote dynamic geopolitical partnerships with African states and to redirect US and European policy priorities toward strengthening security and bolstering economic growth and prosperity on the continent. Through high-level relationships and a track record of well-respected analysis, the Africa Center speaks directly to the stakeholders who matter, shaping policy on the foremost issues of this dynamic continent
About the Policy Center for the New South:
The Policy Center for the New South is a Moroccan think tank with a leading role in Africa aiming to contribute to the improvement of economic and social public policies that challenge Morocco and the rest of Africa as integral parts of the global South. As such, the PCNS brings together researchers, publishes their work and capitalizes on a network of renowned partners around the world.