Russia pushes defence ties in Africa to compete with major powers

Russia pushes defence ties in Africa to compete with major powers

Angolan President Joao Lourenco will meet Vladimir Putin today on his first official trip to Moscow. Discussions between the two

putin lourenco

Photo: Alexei Nikolsky/Getty

Angolan President Joao Lourenco will meet Vladimir Putin today on his first official trip to Moscow. Discussions between the two are expected to focus on improving bilateral relations on trade, arms delivery and natural resource exploration.

Mr Lourenco’s visit comes as major global powers seek to strengthen diplomatic and commercial ties with African nations due to the continent’s growing share of the global population and economy; China will invest $60 billion in Africa this year alone.

Russia cannot compete with American foreign aid or Chinese investment, so it has worked to expand its military influence across Africa. Indeed, Russia signed deals last year with Guinea, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Madagascar and Mali to foster arms sales, security agreements and military training programs.

Expanding Moscow’s military presence will not only help carve out logistical and political gains in Africa, but also allows Russia access to key markets and mining rights. Following today’s meeting, a possible scenario is a situation akin to that of the Central African Republic, where Russia has been installed as the nation’s primary arms dealer and has received mining rights for gold and diamonds at a fraction of their worth.

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