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29 Jul, 2023 06:02

Russia outlines priorities for development of Africa links

The expansion of maritime logistics is necessary to cater for growing trade, according to the customs service
Russia outlines priorities for development of Africa links

Expanding transport links between Russia and Africa is among the priorities for the development of mutual trade, the Russian Federal Customs Service said on Thursday.

According to the service’s interim head, Ruslan Davydov, up to 95% of trade between Russia and its main partners in Africa is by sea, meaning an expansion and streamlining of maritime logistics is necessary to cater for the growing trade.

“Logistics is one of the key elements, because the distances are long, the goods are heavy and bulky, certain expertise is required,” Davydov told RT at the Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg.

The share of African nations in Russia’s foreign trade rose by 30% in the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2022, the official added.

Five countries account for 60% of trade turnover between Russia and Africa, namely Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Libya, and South Africa. Russia sells grain, energy resources, metals, and trucks to the continent, and buys agricultural produce.

Davydov pointed to progress that has already been achieved in terms of logistics. Russia’s largest private logistics company, Fesco, announced at the summit that it has launched direct sea container links with Gqeberha, a major port in South Africa, and plans to expand to more destinations on the continent.

According to the customs official, the first Russian vessel to arrive at Gqeberha delivered a cargo of solar panels and was unloaded on Thursday.

Davydov also discussed the issue of railway links within Africa, and acknowledged that there is currently little trade between Russia and landlocked countries in the center of the continent. According to the official, central African nations are interested in foreign investment in railway infrastructure, and hope that Russia will help them establish rail links with the continent’s ports, which in turn will boost mutual trade.

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