Russian Deputy Energy Minister Pavel Sorokin announced a commitment to an “equal partnership” with the rapidly expanding African continent. Sorokin spoke to the Russian news channel RT during the recent Russia-Africa Summit held in St. Petersburg. This was the first time the summit convened in four years, before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sorokin pointed out that despite Africa not being a significant energy consumer at present, it is expected to become one as the continent’s economies develop and its populace gains access to energy resources.
Sorokin elaborated, “It certainly will be one of the places that contribute to demand, and that means it will have an impact on all global flows and overall energy commerce.”
The minister underscored the importance of affordable, sustainable energy to cater to Africa’s burgeoning population and economy.
Addressing Africa’s vast mineral wealth, the official signified that the objective goes beyond mere resource extraction to ensure that these countries retain more of the created value.
“It’s a hurdle for Russia, which we are confronting. It’s a hurdle for Africa, and it’s easier and more beneficial to face these challenges together because we are prepared to collaborate with Africa as a partner, on an equal footing,” he declared.
Sorokin further emphasized that a balanced partnership doesn’t involve merely exploiting resources from a nation, offering them a small compensation, and then withdrawing a substantial part of the revenue. He highlighted that such practices yield little benefit to the continent and suggested that collaboration towards shared goals could improve the situation.
Further, Sorokin recommended a model of cooperation that includes supplying equipment and transferring knowledge through specialized training centers. “That’s where the future is; that’s the groundwork for a strong partnership,” he stated.
He also indicated Russia’s readiness to cooperate with Africa as a partner and hinted at the possibility of collaborating with China to boost Africa’s development.