A major Russia-Africa summit kicked off on Wednesday with representation from all states of the continent.
The summit held in the Black Sea city of Sochi opened with the Russia-Africa Economic Forum where Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who is also head of the African Union, greeted participants.
Speaking at the plenary session of the forum, Putin said they were seeking to unearth the potential for cooperation between Russia and Africa.
“Integration processes unfolding in Africa provide additional opportunities for cooperation. We welcome the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area as part of the African Union and are willing to work with this new entity,” he said.
The Russian president used the opportunity to hold meetings with a number of African leaders, including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Namibian President Hage Gottfried Geingob, Central African Republic President Faustin-Archange Touadera, Ethiopian President Abiy Ahmed and heads of regional organizations.
He discussed the possibilities of cooperation in military, education, mining, energy, and infrastructure.
On Thursday, the participants of the summit will discuss ways to expand political, economic, technical and cultural cooperation at a plenary meeting.