Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa during a Plenary Session in the Second Russia–Africa Summit in St. Petersburg in the Russian Federation, 28 July 2023

Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa during a Plenary Session in the Second Russia–Africa Summit in St. Petersburg in the Russian Federation, 28 July 2023


Your Excellency, President Vladimir Putin,

Your Excellency, President Azali Assoumani, Chair of the African Union and President of the Comoros,

Your Excellency Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chair of the African Union Commission,

Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,



Ladies and Gentlemen,


Allow me to begin by thanking you, President Putin, as well as the government and people of the Russian Federation for receiving us here in St Petersburg.


Nearly three years ago in the city of Sochi, we pledged as leaders of African states and as the Russian Federation to cooperate in a manner that is mutually beneficial and that serves the interests of our peoples.


In the intervening years we have experienced strong geopolitical and economic crosswinds. We continue to count the human cost of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our economies.


As South Africa we are greatly encouraged by the Russian Federation’s commitment to deepening collaboration with the nations of Africa.


This is important as we chart a new course for economic recovery, growth and reconstruction, and strive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.


As South Africa, we remember with deep gratitude how the support of the people and the government of the then-Soviet Union sustained our struggle for liberation.


Today our bilateral relationship remains strong. We continue to collaborate in the political, economic, social, defence and security spheres. We work closely across multilateral platforms such as the United Nations, G20 and as members of BRICS.


As South Africa, our participation in forums such as this one is guided by our quest to realise the African Union’s Agenda 2063 vision of economic integration and inclusive socio-economic development.


South Africa will shortly be hosting the 15th BRICS Summit.


We see this Summit as an opportunity to promote enhanced global cooperation to achieve common prosperity for all the nations of Africa.


The BRICS partners are significant investors in Africa.


The upcoming summit will therefore give particular attention to infrastructure development, supported by the New Development Bank, and the African Continental Free Trade Area.


The African Continental Free Trade Area, once fully operational, will unlock the benefits of the continental market and generate mutually beneficial opportunities for both African and BRICS countries.


As African countries we are shaping own destinies, as nation states and as a continent.


Our substantial resources are being harnessed first and foremost for Africa’s benefit, to grow African economies and to pursue sustainable development.


We seek reciprocal trade and investment, and for the goods, products and services from Africa to compete on an equal footing in the global economy.


Respect and mutual benefit underpin our international relations.


African countries should, as sovereign states, be able to pursue independent foreign policy approaches that are not beholden to any of the major global powers or blocs.


This second Russia-Africa Summit is an opportunity to further enhance and strengthen international cooperation and partnership for Africa’s development.


We welcome the focus on further cooperation between Russia and Africa to promote investment, facilitate the development of value chains and boost capacity to produce and export manufactured products.


The proposed Russia-Africa Action Plan for the coming years should align with the second Ten-Year Implementation Plan of the AU’s Agenda 2063. This will ensure better coherence and more action-orientated interventions.


We should also ensure joint monitoring and evaluation of the Action Plan. We need to jointly allocate the necessary funding for implementation and be accountable for concrete deliverables.


Geopolitical tensions are negatively affecting countries across Africa.


As part of Russia-Africa cooperation we must repeat our call for existing global institutional mechanisms to be both strengthened and reformed. Greater participation of countries of the Global South will promote inclusiveness and engender trust.


In this regard, the reform of the multilateral financial institutions and the UN Security Council remains a priority.


In our interconnected world, we are all affected by conflict and instability in other parts of the world.


We have a responsibility as nations to work for peace, to support peacebuilding and to lend our every effort to bring an end to conflict and war.


As South Africa, we are steadfast in our position that negotiation, dialogue and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter are necessary for the peaceful and just resolution of conflict.


It is our hope that constructive engagement and negotiation can bring about an end to the ongoing conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.


As South Africa our own history has taught us that this is indeed possible.


In conclusion, we look forward to this second Russia-Africa Summit playing a key role in supporting our objectives of African integration, economic growth, peace and common prosperity.


I thank you.


Issued by: The Presidency