The third meeting of the Russian-African Club dedicated to the humanitarian aspects of cooperation between Russia and Africa has ended successfully.
Held on the topic: ‘Development of public diplomacy between Russia and African countries: Science, Education, Culture, Ecology’, the meeting forms part of preparations ahead of the second Russia-Africa Partnership Forum.
At the meeting, it was emphasised that the world is not just in a turbulent period, but new foundations are being formed; hence, it is important that Africans independently determine the position of Africa in this new world order.
A member of the club, who doubles as an ex-ambassador of Benin to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, Gabriel Kochofa, noted: “The main feature of Africa is the factor of the constantly growing number of young people. Within a couple of decades, more than half of Africa’s population will be under the age of 25. This means that the number of African students in Russian universities will grow. In turn, the number of Russian-speaking specialists in African countries will go up significantly”.
For his part, Ambassador of the Republic of Benin, Akambi André Okounlola Biau, said it is necessary to create a unified system for Russia and African countries that would allow for the implementation of students and professors exchange programmes.
President of the Union of African Diaspora, Zenebe Kinfu, also indicated the need for necessary measures to boost the employment of African students studying in Russian universities.
Founder of the Hello, Africa! online magazine, Louis Gowend, noted that it is essential to overcome the stereotypes imposed by western cinema when life in Africa is shown one-sidedly and implausibly.
“There are modern cities in Africa, a developed society, cultural and humanitarian communities and organisations, and this must be conveyed to the Russian audience.
“The big problem is that people in Russia and Africa know very little about each other. It is time to think about the development of African cinema because through cinema, you can learn how people live in Africa. On the other hand, it is necessary to increase the number of Russian films shows on African TV channels,” Louis Gowend said.
Speaking on solving environmental problems, Foster Kwabena Osei from Ghana emphasised the importance of developing and strengthening ties between Russia and African countries in the field of agriculture.
According to the businessman, to ensure stability and sustainable development trends in all areas on the African continent, investments must be made in the environmental sector.
He believes the event is an important step toward creating a better world for the lives of future generations.
President of the Regional Public Organisation of the Society for Friendship with the People of Mauritius, Mrs. Yulia Markhutova, proposed uniting all African friendship societies under the umbrella of the Russian-African Club to encourage more activities through joint efforts.
She also noted that African societies welcome the creation of the Museum of African Culture, mentioning her collection of Mauritius culture exhibits that she could donate to the museum fund.
Other speakers were also of the view that the opening of the Museum of African Culture would be an important milestone on the path to strengthening comprehensive cooperation between Russia and the countries of the African continent.