October 22, 2019 (AO) – Moscow plans to reach an agreement with Ethiopia on settling the country’s remaining debt soon, Russian President Vladimir Putin told TASS in an interview in the run-up to the Russia-Africa summit.
“Let me point put that in the post-Soviet period, at the end of the 20th century, Russia cancelled $20 billion of African countries’ debts to the Soviet Union,” the Russian leader said. “This was both an act of generosity and a pragmatic step, because many of the African states were unable to service those debts.”
“We therefore decided that it would be best for everyone just to start our cooperation from scratch,” he added.
In his words, other arrangements are currently being used for some of the remaining debts. As an example, Putin cited the debt-for-development swap program, which serves as a basis for intergovernmental agreements with Madagascar, Mozambique and Tanzania.
“We expect that Ethiopia’s remaining debt to Russia ($163.6 million) will be settled under similar conditions. The relevant draft agreement is currently being elaborated,” the Russian president said.
He added that “Russia makes contributions to international programs of assistance to Africa in the framework of the UN Development Programme, the World Food Programme (WFP), and the International Civil Defence Organisation.”
“Sometimes in-kind support is provided,” Putin continued. “Since 2011, WFP offices in Africa have received 258 KAMAZ trucks. Another batch of 75 trucks has been shipped most recently.”
The Russian leader explained that economic problems would be considered during the economic forum on October 23-24.
“We are ready to hear proposals from our African partners and share our considerations,” he said.
The Russia-Africa Summit will be held in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi on October 23-24. It will be co-chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The leaders of all 54 African countries have been invited to attend. Over 40 of them have already confirmed their participation. On the summit’s sidelines, an economic forum will take place, which will be attended by the heads of state alongside representatives of governments, business and African integration associations.