Russia Expands Its Game Plan in Africa

Oct 24, 2019 | 17:22 GMT

An image of the Russian flag behind the African continent.

Russia’s upcoming Africa summit in Sochi will provide Moscow with an ability to expand its bilateral relations in the continent.

(S. GVOZD/MARIAN WEYO/Shutterstock)


  • The upcoming Africa summit in Sochi, Russia, will provide Moscow with a platform to formally establish its diplomatic efforts on a pan-African scale for the first time.
  • Because of its financial constraints, Moscow is less likely to lure African states with large investments.
  • Instead, Moscow will focus on providing mutually beneficial cooperation in the fields of security, resource extraction and nuclear power.
  • This cross-continent effort will build on the bilateral African relationships Russia developed in the Soviet era, and has since maintained through military support and information campaigns.

Russia’s strategy to expand its influence in Africa has been underway for two years, though so far it's largely consisted of covert, bilateral activities. But that's slated to change come Oct. 22, when Moscow hosts its first-ever Africa summit in the city of Sochi. The inaugural meeting will provide a platform for Russia to present a more positive view of its approach to Africa, where it can act as an enabler in economic and political affairs. More than 40 African leaders are scheduled so far to attend the two-day event -- many of whom hail from countries Russia has never had exceptionally close relationships with. But Moscow's ability to make inroads with these new nations will be limited by its lack of the massive budget that its Eastern and Western rivals have long leveraged to stake their claim on the continent. Thus Russia's expanded new diplomatic efforts in Africa will likely focus less on offering purely...

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