Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Africa, Materie Prime

Africa. Le sanzioni di Joe Biden rendono appetibili i metalli africani anche in zone pericolose.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2022-05-15.

Gufo_019__

«con il 7% della fornitura globale di nichel della Russia, il 10% del platino del mondo e il 25-30% del palladio del mondo fuori dal mercato internazionale, i ricchi depositi africani di questi metalli iniziano a sembrare molto più attraenti»

«Le sanzioni occidentali alla Russia per la sua invasione dell’Ucraina stanno costringendo le catene di approvvigionamento dei metalli a riconfigurarsi lungo le linee geopolitiche»

I paesi dell’enclave liberal occidentale stanno imbattendosi in una critica carenza di carenza di metalli, carenza che è effetto del blocco delle esportazioni di tali beni da loro stessi imposto alla Russia.

Ma se le miniere africane possono offrire ragionevoli ancorché rischiose possibilità di approvvigionamento, il loro sfruttamento non risolve certamente la carenza attuale.

Senza materie prime la produzione chiude i battenti.

Con un Ppi al 37% il blocco europeo sta agonizzando.

I Contribuenti dell’enclave socialista stanno pagando un ben alto prezzo.

La Russia?

Esporta con gioia il suo surplus minerario alla Cina ed all’India. Non ha perso un centesimo.

* * * * * * *

In calce riportiamo una traduzione in lingua italiana dell’allegato articolo.

* * * * * * *


«Global scramble for metals thrusts Africa into mining spotlight»

«The need to secure new sources of metals for the energy transition amid sanctions on top producer Russia has increased the Africa risk appetite for major miners, who have few alternatives to the resource-rich continent»

«Companies and investors are considering projects they may have previously overlooked, while governments are also looking to Africa, anxious to ensure their countries can procure enough metals to feed an accelerating net-zero push»

«The reality is that the resources the world wants are typically located in difficult places»

«The United States has voiced support for new domestic mines, but projects have stalled»

«Certainly, the risks of mining in sub-Saharan Africa remain high»

«The acute security challenge facing mines in the gold-rich Sahel region was highlighted last month when Russia’s Nordgold abandoned its Taparko gold mine in Burkina Faso over an increasing threat from militants»

«And even in the continent’s most industrialised economy, South Africa, deteriorating rail infrastructure is forcing some coal producers to resort to trucking their product to ports»

«Yet with Russia’s 7% of global nickel supply, 10% of the world’s platinum, and 25-30% of the world’s palladium off the table, Africa’s rich deposits of those metals start looking a lot more attractive»

«Western sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine are forcing metals supply chains to reconfigure along geopolitical lines»

* * * * * * *


Global scramble for metals thrusts Africa into mining spotlight

Ohannesburg, May 8 (Reuters) – The need to secure new sources of metals for the energy transition amid sanctions on top producer Russia has increased the Africa risk appetite for major miners, who have few alternatives to the resource-rich continent.

Companies and investors are considering projects they may have previously overlooked, while governments are also looking to Africa, anxious to ensure their countries can procure enough metals to feed an accelerating net-zero push.

This year’s Investing in African Mining Indaba conference, which runs May 9-12 in Cape Town, will see the highest-ranking U.S. government official in years attending, organisers say, as well as representatives from the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals Corporation (JOGMEC), in a sign of rich countries’ rising concern about securing supply.

“The reality is that the resources the world wants are typically located in difficult places,” said Steven Fox, executive chairman of New York-based political risk consultancy Veracity Worldwide.

The U.S. administration wants to position itself as a strong supporter of battery metals projects in sub-Saharan Africa, he said.

“While Africa presents its challenges, those challenges are no more difficult than the corresponding set of challenges in Canada. It may be easier to actually bring a project to fruition in Africa, than in a place like Canada or the U.S.,” he added.

The United States has voiced support for new domestic mines, but projects have stalled. Rio Tinto’s  Resolution copper project, for example, was halted over Native American claims on the land, and conservation issues.

Certainly, the risks of mining in sub-Saharan Africa remain high. The acute security challenge facing mines in the gold-rich Sahel region was highlighted last month when Russia’s Nordgold abandoned its Taparko gold mine in Burkina Faso over an increasing threat from militants.

And even in the continent’s most industrialised economy, South Africa, deteriorating rail infrastructure is forcing some coal producers to resort to trucking their product to ports.

Yet with Russia’s 7% of global nickel supply, 10% of the world’s platinum, and 25-30% of the world’s palladium off the table, Africa’s rich deposits of those metals start looking a lot more attractive.

“As a mining company, there aren’t many opportunities and if you are going to grow, you’re going to have to look at riskier countries,” said George Cheveley, portfolio manager at Ninety One.

“Clearly, after Russia-Ukraine people are more sensitive to geopolitical risk and you cannot predict which projects are going to work out and which are not,” he added.

Kabanga Nickel, a project in Tanzania, secured funding from global miner BHP  in January, and CEO Chris Showalter said it is seeing increased demand from potential offtakers.

Western sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine are forcing metals supply chains to reconfigure along geopolitical lines, Showalter said.

“Not everyone’s going to be able to get clean battery metals from a friendly jurisdiction, so I think some difficult decisions will have to be made, and it is going to force people to make some new decisions about where they want to source.”

* * * * * * *


La corsa globale ai metalli spinge l’Africa sotto i riflettori dell’industria mineraria

Ohannesburg, 8 maggio (Reuters) – La necessità di assicurarsi nuove fonti di metalli per la transizione energetica in mezzo alle sanzioni sul produttore principale Russia ha aumentato l’appetito di rischio Africa per i principali minatori, che hanno poche alternative al continente ricco di risorse.

Le aziende e gli investitori stanno prendendo in considerazione progetti che potrebbero aver trascurato in precedenza, mentre i governi stanno anche guardando all’Africa, ansiosi di garantire che i loro paesi possano procurarsi abbastanza metalli per alimentare una spinta netta-zero in accelerazione.

La conferenza Investing in African Mining Indaba di quest’anno, che si svolge dal 9 al 12 maggio a Città del Capo, vedrà la partecipazione del più alto funzionario del governo degli Stati Uniti da anni, dicono gli organizzatori, così come i rappresentanti della Japan Oil, Gas and Metals Corporation (JOGMEC), in un segno della crescente preoccupazione dei paesi ricchi di garantire l’approvvigionamento.

“La realtà è che le risorse che il mondo vuole sono tipicamente situate in luoghi difficili”, ha detto Steven Fox, presidente esecutivo della società di consulenza sui rischi politici Veracity Worldwide con sede a New York.

L’amministrazione degli Stati Uniti vuole posizionarsi come un forte sostenitore dei progetti sui metalli delle batterie nell’Africa sub-sahariana, ha detto.

“Mentre l’Africa presenta le sue sfide, quelle sfide non sono più difficili del corrispondente insieme di sfide in Canada. Può essere più facile portare a compimento un progetto in Africa che in un posto come il Canada o gli Stati Uniti”, ha aggiunto.

Gli Stati Uniti hanno espresso il loro sostegno per nuove miniere nazionali, ma i progetti si sono arenati. Il progetto di rame Resolution di Rio Tinto, per esempio, è stato fermato per le rivendicazioni dei nativi americani sulla terra e per questioni di conservazione.

Certamente, i rischi dell’attività mineraria nell’Africa sub-sahariana rimangono alti. L’acuta sfida alla sicurezza delle miniere nella regione del Sahel, ricca d’oro, è stata evidenziata il mese scorso quando la russa Nordgold ha abbandonato la sua miniera d’oro Taparko in Burkina Faso a causa della crescente minaccia dei militanti.

E anche nell’economia più industrializzata del continente, il Sudafrica, il deterioramento delle infrastrutture ferroviarie sta costringendo alcuni produttori di carbone a ricorrere ai camion per trasportare il loro prodotto nei porti.

Tuttavia, con il 7% della fornitura globale di nichel della Russia, il 10% del platino del mondo e il 25-30% del palladio del mondo fuori dal tavolo, i ricchi depositi africani di questi metalli iniziano a sembrare molto più attraenti.

“Come azienda mineraria, non ci sono molte opportunità e se vuoi crescere, devi guardare a paesi più rischiosi”, ha detto George Cheveley, portfolio manager di Ninety One.

“Chiaramente, dopo Russia-Ucraina la gente è più sensibile al rischio geopolitico e non si può prevedere quali progetti andranno bene e quali no”, ha aggiunto.

Kabanga Nickel, un progetto in Tanzania, si è assicurato un finanziamento da BHP a gennaio, e il CEO Chris Showalter ha detto che sta vedendo un aumento della domanda da parte di potenziali acquirenti.

Le sanzioni occidentali alla Russia per la sua invasione dell’Ucraina stanno costringendo le catene di approvvigionamento dei metalli a riconfigurarsi lungo le linee geopolitiche, ha detto Showalter.

“Non tutti saranno in grado di ottenere metalli puliti per batterie da una giurisdizione amica, quindi penso che alcune decisioni difficili dovranno essere prese, e questo costringerà le persone a prendere alcune nuove decisioni su dove vogliono approvvigionarsi”.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Africa, Russia

Russia. La presenza in Africa occidentale preoccupa ed irrita i francesi.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-11-17.

Mali 002

Mali. Macron si è trovato in casa più di mille mercenari russi. Mr Putin lo ha sfregiato.

Cina penetra economicamente l’Africa subsahariana.

Macron accusa Russia e Turchia di voler scalzare la Francia dall’Africa Centrale.

Russia. Penetrazione in Africa costruendovi centrali atomiche.

Russia. Dispiegati cacciabombardieri in Libia. La strategia russa in Africa.

Putin. La Russia alla conquista dell’Africa.

* * * * * * *

«France’s foreign and armed forces ministers will stress their governments concern over the Kremlin’s activities in West Africa»

«Relations have been strained over ongoing differences over Ukraine and more recently over the role of Russian mercenaries in West Africa»

«Diplomatic and security sources have told Reuters that Mali’s year-old military junta is close to recruiting mercenaries from the Russia Wagner Group»

«such an arrangement is incompatible with a continued French presence in its former colony»

* * * * * * *

Nel passato l’Africa occidentale e subsahariana erano colonie francesi, che fecero poco o nulla per quelle popolazioni. Adesso ci si sta avviando al redde rationem.

Russia e cinesi stanno penetrando economicamente e militarmente quelle nazioni, che sono sempre più insofferenti al controllo francese.

Uno dei risultati tangibili lo si  visto

Cina. Si avvia alla maggioranza nelle Nazioni Unite.

Questa nuova débâcle di Joe Biden segna la tappa epocale della perdita di controllo delle UN.

«Da venerdì Stati Uniti ed enclave liberal europea sono diventati minoranza nelle assemblee delle Nazioni Unite..

I media liberal si son chiusi in un muto silenzio, come se nulla fosse successo.

Questa è una svolta storica, epocale: adesso è la Cina a controllare la maggioranza in seno alle Nazioni Unite»

Volenti o nolenti, i francesi non contano più nulla sul piano internazionale.

* * * * * * *


French ministers to raise concerns with Russia on West Africa activities.

France’s foreign and armed forces ministers will stress their governments concern over the Kremlin’s activities in West Africa when they meet their Russian counterparts in Paris on Friday.

Relations have been strained over ongoing differences over Ukraine and more recently over the role of Russian mercenaries in West Africa, where France has thousands of troops fighting Islamist militants.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said the mercenaries are working at the behest of Moscow.

“This meeting will discuss the political and military dimensions of regional and international crises, in particular with regard to the situations in Ukraine and in the Sahel-Saharan strip in which France will express its concerns about Russia’s actions,” a joint statement by the French foreign and armed forces ministries said.

Diplomatic and security sources have told Reuters that Mali’s year-old military junta is close to recruiting mercenaries from the Russia Wagner Group.

France has mounted a diplomatic drive to thwart it, saying such an arrangement is incompatible with a continued French presence in its former colony.

France postponed a visit to Moscow in Sept. 2020 by its foreign and armed forces ministers as European powers sought answers from Russia to Germany’s findings that Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was poisoned.

Those had been scheduled as the first joint strategic talks since 2018 and was part of French efforts to reduce distrust between Russia and the West, hoping to enlist Russian help in solving the world’s most intractable crises.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Africa, Russia

Mali. Macron si è trovato in casa più di mille mercenari russi. Mr Putin lo ha sfregiato.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-09-16.

Mali 002

«Russian mercenaries are closing in on a deal to send a 1,000-strong force to shore up the junta in Mali in a move that has alarmed France, the former colonial power.

The Wagner Group would earn approximately $10.8 million a month for deploying to the west African state, according to diplomatic sources. Its mission would be to train troops and protect the regime’s senior figures in a country that has suffered two coups in the last year and faces an ongoing Islamist insurgency in the vast Sahel region.

Reports of the deal come after President Macron announced in June the winding down of Operation Barkhane, France’s 5,000-strong Mali-based military effort against the insurgents.» [The Times]

* * * * * *

«Deal allowing Russian mercenaries into Mali close»

«Paris wants to prevent deal being enacted»

«At least 1,000 mercenaries could be involved»

«A deal is close that would allow Russian mercenaries into Mali, extending Russian influence over security affairs in West Africa and triggering opposition from former colonial power France»

«Paris has begun a diplomatic drive to prevent the military junta in Mali enacting the deal, which would permit Russian private military contractors, the Wagner Group, to operate in the former French colony»

«A European source who tracks West Africa and a security source in the region said at least 1,000 mercenaries could be involved»

«Four sources said the Wagner Group would be paid about 6 billion CFA francs ($10.8 million) a month for its services»

«One security source working in the region said the mercenaries would train Malian military and provide protection for senior officials»

«France’s diplomatic offensive, the diplomatic sources said, includes enlisting the help of partners including the United States to persuade Mali’s junta not to press ahead with the deal, and sending senior diplomats to Moscow and Mali for talks»

«France is worried the arrival of Russian mercenaries would undermine its decade-old counter-terrorism operation against al Qaeda and Islamic State-linked insurgents in the Sahel region of West Africa at a time when it is seeking to draw down its 5,000-strong Barkhane mission to reshape it with more European partners»

«An intervention by this actor would therefore be incompatible with the efforts carried out by Mali’s Sahelian and international partners engaged in the Coalition for the Sahel for security and development of the region»

«Public opinion in Mali is in favour of more cooperation with Russia given the ongoing security situation»

«Having Russian mercenaries in Mali would strengthen Russia’s push for global prestige and influence, and be part of a wider campaign to shake up long-standing power dynamics in Africa»

«As relations with France have worsened, Mali’s military junta has increased contacts with Russia, including Defence Minister Sadio Camara visiting Moscow and overseeing tank exercises on Sept. 4»

* * * * * * *

Cina penetra economicamente l’Africa subsahariana.

Cina. Consolida il suo impero in Africa.

Cina ed Africa. I rapporti collaborativi si stanno consolidando.

Cina ed Africa. Una politica di rapporti internazionali paritetici.

*

Macron accusa Russia e Turchia di voler scalzare la Francia dall’Africa Centrale.

Russia. Penetrazione in Africa costruendovi centrali atomiche.

Russia. Dispiegati cacciabombardieri in Libia. La strategia russa in Africa.

Putin. La Russia alla conquista dell’Africa.

*

Macron in visita nel Burkina Faso. Per poco lo accoppano. Incidente diplomatico.

* * *

E così o russi hanno messo un piede ben fermo nel Mali: ci sono e non hanno nessuna intenzione di andarsene.

*


Deal allowing Russian mercenaries into Mali is close – sources.

– Deal allowing Russian mercenaries into Mali close- sources

– Paris wants to prevent deal being enacted, sources say

– At least 1,000 mercenaries could be involved – two sources

*

PARIS, Sept 13 (Reuters) – A deal is close that would allow Russian mercenaries into Mali, extending Russian influence over security affairs in West Africa and triggering opposition from former colonial power France, seven diplomatic and security sources said.

Paris has begun a diplomatic drive to prevent the military junta in Mali enacting the deal, which would permit Russian private military contractors, the Wagner Group, to operate in the former French colony, the sources said.

A European source who tracks West Africa and a security source in the region said at least 1,000 mercenaries could be involved. Two other sources believed the number was lower, but did not provide figures.

Four sources said the Wagner Group would be paid about 6 billion CFA francs ($10.8 million) a month for its services. One security source working in the region said the mercenaries would train Malian military and provide protection for senior officials.

Reuters could not confirm independently how many mercenaries could be involved, how much they would be compensated, or establish the exact objective of any deal involving Russian mercenaries would be for Mali’s military junta.

Reuters was unable to reach the Wagner Group for comment. Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who media outlets including Reuters have linked to the Wagner Group, denies any connection to the firm.

His press service also says on its social networking site Vkontakte that Prigozhin has nothing to do with any private military company, has no business interests in Africa and is not involved in any activities there.

His press service did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment for this story.

                         POTENTIAL THREAT TO COUNTER-TERRORISM EFFORT

France’s diplomatic offensive, the diplomatic sources said, includes enlisting the help of partners including the United States to persuade Mali’s junta not to press ahead with the deal, and sending senior diplomats to Moscow and Mali for talks.

France is worried the arrival of Russian mercenaries would undermine its decade-old counter-terrorism operation against al Qaeda and Islamic State-linked insurgents in the Sahel region of West Africa at a time when it is seeking to draw down its 5,000-strong Barkhane mission to reshape it with more European partners, the diplomatic sources said.

The French foreign ministry also did not respond but a French diplomatic source criticised interventions by the Wagner Group in other countries.

“An intervention by this actor would therefore be incompatible with the efforts carried out by Mali’s Sahelian and international partners engaged in the Coalition for the Sahel for security and development of the region,” the source said.

A spokesperson for the leader of Mali’s junta, which took power in a military coup in August 2020, said he had no information about such a deal.

“These are rumours. Officials don’t comment on rumours,” said the spokesperson, Baba Cisse, who declined further comment.

Mali’s defence ministry spokesperson said: “Public opinion in Mali is in favour of more cooperation with Russia given the ongoing security situation. But no decision (on the nature of that cooperation) has been made.”

Russia’s defence and foreign ministries did not respond to requests for comment, nor did the Kremlin or the French presidency.

The mercenaries’ presence would jeopardise Mali’s funding from the international partners and allied training missions that have helped rebuild Mali’s army, four security and diplomatic sources said.

                         RIVALRY IN AFRICA

Having Russian mercenaries in Mali would strengthen Russia’s push for global prestige and influence, and be part of a wider campaign to shake up long-standing power dynamics in Africa, the diplomatic sources said.

More than a dozen People with ties to the Wagner Group have previously told Reuters it has carried out clandestine combat missions on the Kremlin’s behalf in Ukraine, Libya and Syria. Russian authorities deny Wagner contractors carry out their orders.

Mali’s military junta has said it will oversee a transition to democracy leading to elections in February 2022.

As relations with France have worsened, Mali’s military junta has increased contacts with Russia, including Defence Minister Sadio Camara visiting Moscow and overseeing tank exercises on Sept. 4.

A senior Malian defence ministry source said the visit was in “the framework of cooperation and military assistance” and gave no further details. Russia’s defence ministry said deputy defence minister Alexander Fomin had met Camara during an international military forum and “discussed defence cooperation projects in detail as well as regional security matters related to West Africa.” No further details were released.

The French foreign ministry’s top Africa diplomat, Christophe Bigot, was dispatched to Moscow for talks on Sept. 8 with Mikhail Bogdanov, Putin’s point person on the Middle East and Africa. Russia’s foreign ministry confirmed the visit.

France’s foreign ministry declined to comment on the visit. Bigot could not immediately be reached for comment. The Russian foreign ministry did not respond to a Reuters request for comment from Bogdanov.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Geopolitica Africa, Russia

Russia. Putin sta penetrando militarmente l’Africa, scacciandone americani e francesi.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-09-15.

Putin Vladimir 012

Mr Putin sta tessendo tutta una serie di accordi militari strategici bilaterali con tutti quegli stati africani che più non tollerano l’ossessione americana di voler imporre la visione liberal dei così detti ‘human rights’ quale elemento propedeutico ad aiuti ed accordi.

Come suo solito, e con rara maestria, Mr Putin sfrutta tutti gli errori degli occidentali e di Joe Biden per scalzarli politicamente, economicamente e militarmente.

Se è vero che al momento attuale l’Africa sia misera, sarebbe altrettanto vero considerare le sue ricchezze minerarie e come sarà nel corso di una generazione.

Domani, invece, pubblicheremo lo sfregio che Mr Putin ha fatto a Mr Macron.

* * * * * * *

«Russia is building its military influence in Africa, challenging U.S. and French dominance»

«In the past two months alone, Russia has signed military cooperation agreements with Nigeria and Ethiopia, Africa’s two most populous nations»

«The U.S. has pledged to reignite its economic and commercial engagements in Africa, but a planned drawback of troops is giving way to extensive spending»

«France maintains the largest presence and troop numbers of any former colonial power in Africa»

* * *

«Russia is challenging the status quo in Africa, using insecurity and diplomatic disputes with Western powers as a springboard to expand its presence on the continent»

«From Libya to Nigeria, Ethiopia to Mali, Moscow has been building key strategic military alliances and an increasingly favorable public profile across Africa in recent years»

«→→ Central to this effort is offering alternatives to countries that have grown disgruntled with Western diplomatic partnerships ←←»

«Russia was not going to participate in a new ‘repartition’ of the continent’s wealth; rather, we are ready to engage in competition for cooperation with Africa»

«Via the U.N., Russia has also provided aid in the form food and medical assistance alongside its growing commercial, economic and military support across the continent»

«Africa accounted for 18% of Russian arms exports between 2016 and 2020»

«Russian mercenaries have also provided direct assistance to governments in Libya and the Central African Republic»

«A group of Russian instructors was sent to the CAR at the request of its leaders»

«U.S. lawmakers had stalled a planned $1 billion weapons sale to Nigeria over allegations of human rights abuses by the government»

«Less than a month later, Russia signed a deal with President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to supply military equipment, training and technology to Nigerian forces»

«This confluence of factors paving the way for Russian influence-building was also at play in Ethiopia. Russia has provided support for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government after Western governments balked at his forces’ military response to an insurgency in northern Tigray»

«Moscow proceeded with the deployment of election observers to Ethiopia, whereas the EU withdrew its observers, citing “ongoing violence across the country, human rights violations and political tensions, harassment of media workers and detained opposition members.”»

«Russia has supplied strategic weapons both as a potential defense against any Egyptian strike on the GERD and to aid government forces in Tigray»

«Ethiopia and Russia signed a military cooperation agreement in July, focused specifically on knowledge and technology transfers»

* * *

«The U.S. has pledged to reignite its economic and commercial engagements in Africa, but a planned drawback of troops»

«the “creeping build-up” of U.S. military on the continent was accompanied by mixed messaging, accusing both the U.S. and African governments of a lack of transparency»

«France maintains the largest presence and troop numbers of any former colonial power in Africa, particularly in the form of 5,100 troops in the Sahel, where the border area between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger meet has become a hotspot for violence»

«Paris is inconsistent in its treatment of friendly regimes, indulging an unconstitutional transfer of power in Chad but taking a harder line following a coup in Mali»

«when Colonel Assimi Goïta established military rule in Mali, Macron denounced the coup and suspended a joint military operation with the Malian army»

«Protests in the aftermath were also hostile toward France, while Russian flags and posters were visible»

* * * * * * *

Gli occidentali stanno pagando a duro prezzo la pulsione coatta dei liberal di voler imporre la loro ideologia.

Gli africani proprio non ne vogliono sapere e sono arcistufi degli americani che salgono in cattedra ed impartiscono loro lezioni: vogliono essere sé stessi, senza condizionamenti. Questo è il motivo della felice penetrazione nel continente di Russia e Cina.

*


Russia is building its military influence in Africa, challenging U.S. and French dominance.

– In the past two months alone, Russia has signed military cooperation agreements with Nigeria and Ethiopia, Africa’s two most populous nations.

– The U.S. has pledged to reignite its economic and commercial engagements in Africa, but a planned drawback of troops is giving way to extensive spending on operational bases and longer-term plans to sustain a strategic presence.

– France maintains the largest presence and troop numbers of any former colonial power in Africa.

*

Russia is challenging the status quo in Africa, using insecurity and diplomatic disputes with Western powers as a springboard to expand its presence on the continent.

From Libya to Nigeria, Ethiopia to Mali, Moscow has been building key strategic military alliances and an increasingly favorable public profile across Africa in recent years. 

Central to this effort is offering alternatives to countries that have grown disgruntled with Western diplomatic partnerships.

The second Russia-Africa Summit is scheduled for 2022. At the inaugural summit in Sochi in 2019, President Vladimir Putin vowed that Russia was “not going to participate in a new ‘repartition’ of the continent’s wealth; rather, we are ready to engage in competition for cooperation with Africa.”

Via the U.N., Russia has also provided aid in the form food and medical assistance alongside its growing commercial, economic and military support across the continent.

                         Russia’s bilateral push.

In the past two months alone, Russia has signed military cooperation agreements with Nigeria and Ethiopia, Africa’s two most populous nations.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates that Africa accounted for 18% of Russian arms exports between 2016 and 2020.

Russian mercenaries have also provided direct assistance to governments in Libya and the Central African Republic, according to the U.N. However, the Kremlin has denied links to the Wagner Group, a paramilitary organization alleged by the U.N. to be aiding human rights abuses in the region.

“A group of Russian instructors was sent to the CAR at the request of its leaders and with the knowledge of the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee on the CAR established by Resolution 2127,” a Russian foreign ministry statement said in July. “Indicatively, none of them has taken part in combat operations.”

Reuters reported in July that U.S. lawmakers had stalled a planned $1 billion weapons sale to Nigeria over allegations of human rights abuses by the government.  

Less than a month later, Russia signed a deal with President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to supply military equipment, training and technology to Nigerian forces.

Although historically a key diplomatic and trade partner of the U.S., Buhari’s government found itself at odds with Washington amid the #EndSARS protests in 2020, and again after a recent fallout with Twitter.

Meanwhile, Islamist militant groups such as Boko Haram and the Islamic State’s West Africa Province have cotinued to wreak havoc in the northeast of the country. 

This confluence of factors paving the way for Russian influence-building was also at play in Ethiopia. Russia has provided support for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government after Western governments balked at his forces’ military response to an insurgency in northern Tigray. 

Ethiopia felt the U.S. in particular was aligning with Egypt in the ongoing dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken further evoked the ire of Addis Ababa in March by accusing forces in Tigray of “ethnic cleansing.” 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov then met with Ethiopian counterpart Demeke Mekonnen in June. Moscow proceeded with the deployment of election observers to Ethiopia, whereas the EU withdrew its observers, citing “ongoing violence across the country, human rights violations and political tensions, harassment of media workers and detained opposition members.”

Russia has supplied strategic weapons both as a potential defense against any Egyptian strike on the GERD and to aid government forces in Tigray. 

“Gains by the Tigray Defence Force (TDF), which has captured parts of the Afar and Amhara regions in recent weeks, make the provision of desperately needed weapons all the more important for Addis Ababa, and Moscow is likely to oblige to such a request, possibly on a buy-now-pay-later basis,” said Louw Nel, senior political analyst at NKC African Economics.  

In what Nel flagged as a “sign of things to come,” Ethiopia and Russia signed a military cooperation agreement in July, focused specifically on knowledge and technology transfers. However, Nel noted that Ethiopia will be “wary of allowing Russian personnel to be deployed there in anything other than a training capacity.” 

Russia’s foreign ministry was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

                         U.S. ‘creeping build-up’. 

The U.S. has pledged to reignite its economic and commercial engagements in Africa, but a planned drawback of troops is giving way to extensive spending on operational bases and longer-term plans to sustain a strategic presence, according to a recent report from risk intelligence firm Pangea-Risk. 

In 2018, then-U.S. national security advisor John Bolton singled out Russia’s expansionist “influence across Africa,” and Washington has been keen to retain a foothold on the continent.

The Biden administration is set to maintain the U.S. military’s 27 operational outposts on the continent, while the country’s Africa Command (Africom) is prioritizing counter-terrorism objectives in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel regions.

The U.S. is also establishing a presence in other strategically important regions, such as the Red Sea and the Gulf of Guinea. Some $330 million is reportedly being spent by 2025 on U.S. military base construction and related infrastructure projects, while Africom is drawing up a 20-year strategic plan. 

This will focus on counterterrorism, special forces operations and humanitarian support, along with safeguarding U.S. commercial interests in the face of growing Chinese and Russian presence. 

The report noted that Cape Verdean authorities have since July 2020 agreed a Status of Forces Agreement with the U.S. military to allow U.S. troops to operate from its archipelago. 

“Such an agreement makes sense given global geo-political competition in the West African region and the need to counter the growing risk of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, both of which pose an existential threat to U.S. commercial interests,” Pangea-Risk CEO Robert Besseling said. 

“However, the one-year-old SOFA with Cape Verde raises questions over broader U.S. diplomatic and judicial engagements in the country, and whether this sets a pattern for U.S.–Africa relations going forward.” 

International Crisis Group Africa Program Director Comfort Ero, has said the “creeping build-up” of U.S. military on the continent was accompanied by mixed messaging, accusing both the U.S. and African governments of a lack of transparency. 

The U.S. is likely to phase out its direct military presence in insecurity hotspots, but continues to seek SOFA deals with countries of strategic importance, Pangea-Risk said, adding that Washington will be reluctant to withdraw entirely due to Chinese and Russian presence. 

France struggles in the Sahel. 

France maintains the largest presence and troop numbers of any former colonial power in Africa, particularly in the form of 5,100 troops in the Sahel, where the border area between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger meet has become a hotspot for violence. 

“Paris is inconsistent in its treatment of friendly regimes, indulging an unconstitutional transfer of power in Chad but taking a harder line following a coup in Mali,” said NKC’s Nel. 

French President Emmanuel Macron supported a military-led transition from Chadian President Idriss Deby, who was killed in battle with rebel forces in April, to his son. This violated the country’s constitution and led to anti-French protests and the vandalism of a Total petrol station. 

However, when Colonel Assimi Goïta established military rule in Mali, Macron denounced the coup and suspended a joint military operation with the Malian army. Protests in the aftermath were also hostile toward France, while Russian flags and posters were visible. 

“Given the clear negative trend in political stability in Mali, there is reason to consider the danger that it might end up looking like the CAR, where President Faustin-Archange Touadéra’s weak government is essentially kept in place by Russian muscle: the mercenaries of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group,” Nel said.

Pubblicato in: Banche Centrali, Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Africa

Nigeria. 2021Q1. Il pil ritorna ad essere positivo 0.51%.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-05-30.

2021-05-26__ Nigeria

«Nigeria’s economy grew 0.5% in the first quarter, lifted by higher crude production and oil prices, the country’s statistics office said on Sunday, as activities slowly gain momentum after the gradual easing of coronavirus lockdowns»

«Africa’s largest economy, exited its second recession since 2016 in the fourth quarter, despite a full-year contraction in 2020»

«Nigeria had been grappling with low growth before the coronavirus pandemic triggered a recession and created large financing gaps, including dollar shortages and inflation»

«Nigeria had been grappling with low growth before the coronavirus pandemic triggered a recession and created large financing gaps, including dollar shortages and inflation»

«Oil, which accounts for around two-thirds of Nigerian government revenue and 90% of foreign exchange, contracted 2.21% in the first quarter as crude production rose to 1.72 million barrels per day from the fourth quarter»

«Dollar shortages have stoked inflation to a more than 4-year high, while a shrinking labour market and mounting insecurity have pressured households»

* * * * * * *

Questi macrodati suggerirebbero che la Nigeria stia uscendo dalla fase recessiva: permangono i forti dubbi su come possa contenere l’inflazione, ad oggi sopra il 12%.

*


Nigeria’s economy grows in first quarter on oil price rise.

Abuja (Reuters) – Nigeria’s economy grew 0.5% in the first quarter, lifted by higher crude production and oil prices, the country’s statistics office said on Sunday, as activities slowly gain momentum after the gradual easing of coronavirus lockdowns.

Africa’s largest economy, exited its second recession since 2016 in the fourth quarter, despite a full-year contraction in 2020.

Nigeria had been grappling with low growth before the coronavirus pandemic triggered a recession and created large financing gaps, including dollar shortages and inflation.

“The Q1 2021 growth rate was slower than the 1.87% growth rate recorded in Q1 2020 but higher than 0.11% recorded in Q4 2020, indicative of a slow but continuous recovery,” The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.

Nigeria is inoculating its 200 million citizens, but last month directed its regions to stop giving first doses of AstraZeneca vaccines once they use half their current stock, to safeguard supply for a second dose.

The NBS said the non-oil sector, which the government is trying to make the main growth sector, rose 0.79% in the first quarter. Telecoms, crop production, real estate, food manufacturing and construction lifted growth in the quarter.

Crude prices rose above $70/barrel on Tuesday but fell on Wednesday on renewed demand concerns as COVID-19 cases in Asia rose and fears that rising inflation might lead the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise rates, which could limit growth.

Oil, which accounts for around two-thirds of Nigerian government revenue and 90% of foreign exchange, contracted 2.21% in the first quarter as crude production rose to 1.72 million barrels per day from the fourth quarter.

With weak growth, few expect Nigeria’s central bank to alter interest rates next week.

The bank has pursued an accommodative stance by leaving interest rates on hold. However, dollar shortages have stoked inflation to a more than 4-year high, while a shrinking labour market and mounting insecurity have pressured households.

“While this points to the likelihood of firmer growth from the second quarter, it still does not allow for a more robust policy response to inflationary pressures,” Razia Khan, chief economist for Africa and the Middle East at Standard Chartered, said.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Africa, Russia

Macron accusa Russia e Turchia di voler scalzare la Francia dall’Africa Centrale.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-11-22.

Africa Centrale 013

«President says Turkey has distorted his words on radical Islam»

«Russia and Turkey are fueling anti-French feeling in Africa by playing on post-colonial resentment»

«Macron said anti-French sentiment in Africa results partly from decades of France maintaining a “very institutional relationship” with Africa through heads of state and companies, but also a strategy by some African leaders and particularly foreign powers such as Russia and Turkey»

«We must not be naive on this topic: many of those who comment, who make videos, who are present in French-speaking media are paid by Russia or Turkey»

«France is one of the biggest foreign investors in Africa, with $53 billion in 2018, according to data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development»

«Macron said he regrets that his words on radical Islam have been distorted, largely by the Muslim Brotherhood but also by Turkey, with a capacity to influence widespread public opinion, also in sub-Saharan Africa»

«“With terrorists, we don’t talk,” Macron said. “We fight.”»

«One doesn’t change a country, institutions and power structures in a few months»

* * * * * * *


Russia e Turkia hanno da tempo attuato una politica di scalzamento della Francia dall’Africa, specialmente da quella centrale e sub-sahariana.

In questo Mr Macron dice il vero.

Ma il problema sembrerebbe essere un altro.

Domandiamoci: per quanto tempo ancora la Francia potrà mantenere il controllo di quello scacchiere geopolitico?

A parere di molti i suoi giorni sarebbero contati.

*


Macron Says Russia, Turkey Fueling Anti-French Sentiment in Africa.

– President says Turkey has distorted his words on radical Islam

– Macron to do everything to help success of Algeria transition

*

Russia and Turkey are fueling anti-French feeling in Africa by playing on post-colonial resentment, French President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview with Jeune Afrique, the most widely read pan-African magazine.

Macron said anti-French sentiment in Africa results partly from decades of France maintaining a “very institutional relationship” with Africa through heads of state and companies, but also a strategy by some African leaders and particularly foreign powers such as Russia and Turkey.

“We must not be naive on this topic: many of those who comment, who make videos, who are present in French-speaking media are paid by Russia or Turkey,” Macron said in the interview published on Friday.

France is one of the biggest foreign investors in Africa, with $53 billion in 2018, according to data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. The country has deployed more than 5,000 troops in the Sahel region to combat Islamist groups there as part of Operation Barkhane.

Macron said he regrets that his words on radical Islam have been distorted, largely by the Muslim Brotherhood but also by Turkey, with a capacity to influence widespread public opinion, also in sub-Saharan Africa. The president said he’s attacking Islamist terrorism, not Islam, adding that 80% of victims are Muslims.

The French president said he’ll have decisions to make about Barkhane in the coming months and that he needs “a clear reiteration” from partner countries in the Sahel that they want France by their side.

Fighting Terrorists

Regarding possible peace talks with Islamist groups in Mali, Macron said the Algiers peace agreement provides a road-map for talks with political groups and those seeking autonomy. He said that doesn’t mean there should be discussions with terrorist groups.

“With terrorists, we don’t talk,” Macron said. “We fight.”

The French president said he’ll do “everything I can” to ensure a successful transition period for Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Algeria’s new president. He said the north African country is still facing a revolutionary movement, while there is also a demand for stability particularly in more rural regions.

“One doesn’t change a country, institutions and power structures in a few months,” Macron said. “There are also things that are not in line with our standards and that we’d like to see evolve.”

After visits to Angola and South Africa were delayed due to Covid-19, Macron said he hopes they can go ahead in the coming weeks, before a trip to Rwanda in 2021.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Africa, Problemi militari, Russia

Russia. Dispiegati cacciabombardieri in Libia. La strategia russa in Africa.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-06-03.

2020-06-03__Russia Africa 001

Inizia a delinearsi la strategia di Mr Putin e della Russia per il dominio del Mare Mediterraneo. Dapprima l’intervento militare diretto in Siria, adesso in Libia. Ma il Mediterraneo è solo un elemento di uno scacchiere ben più vasto: l’obiettivo è il dominio dell’Africa.

*

«The US has identified over a dozen Russia warplanes in Libya, marking Moscow’s first direct venture into the North African country»

«Experts say it is part of a larger Russian plan to expand its influence in the region»

«US Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced earlier this week that Russia had deployed at least 14 warplanes to Libya in support of private military contractors known as the Wagner Group»

«It was the first time Russian armed forces were identified in the North African country. Although the Wagner Group purportedly enjoys Russian state backing, the Kremlin had initially stopped short of deploying official military assets to Libya, despite Moscow’s support for general-turned-warlord Khalifa Haftar»

«For too long, Russia has denied the full extent of its involvement in the ongoing Libyan conflict»

«neither Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) nor private military contractors could “arm, operate and sustain these fighters without state support — support they are getting from Russia»

«Russia is clearly trying to tip the scales in its favor in Libya …. The UN said Russia’s Wagner group already has up to 1,200 mercenaries in Libya.»

«Haftar’s LNA has sought to oust the UN-backed government Tripoli in favor of a rival Tobruk-based government. He has received support from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and, at one point, even France. …. But Russia remains Haftar’s most committed ally»

«Strengthening the Russian military position in North Africa will undoubtedly provide Russian President Vladimir Putin with a much tighter grip over Europe and possibly even deep-rooted influence and control in the wider MENA region»

«Libya’s energy resources and the presence of several deep-water ports will give Putin the logistical and geo-strategical advantage he is attempting to achieve»

2020-06-03__Russia Africa 002

Sarebbe impossibile dominare il Mediterraneo senza poter disporre di porti con acque sufficientemente profonde da permetterne l’uso a navi da guerra. Ma gli unici porti ‘acquisibili’ al momento sono quelli della Libia.

2020-06-03__Russia Africa 003

«Russia’s state arms seller Rosoboronexport announced in April the first contract to supply assault boats to a country in sub-Saharan Africa»

«Russia is building its path to gain a foothold in Africa and broaden its export map for arms on the continent»

«Currently, it accounts for 49% of total arms exports to Africa, according to the database of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)»

«Until now, Algeria remains the biggest recipient of Russian arms in Africa, followed by Egypt, Sudan and Angola …. In the early 2000s, 16 African countries were recipients of Russian arms. Between 2010 and 2019, the figure went up to 21»

«Starting in 2015, Russia started selling arms to oil-rich Angola — mainly fighter aircraft and combat helicopters»

«That same year, Algeria signed another arms deal to buy Russian weapons for $7.5 billion»

«Russia hosted the first-ever Russia-Africa summit in Sochi in 2019 as a way of further identifying cooperation possibilities across the continent. During the summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that “the strengthening of ties with African countries is one of Russia’s foreign policy priorities”»

«This exhibition showed that Russia does not aim to offer disruptive new technologies in arms; instead, it focuses on improving the models that have been demanded the most»

«Russia sees Africa as a key potential partner in the vision for a multipolar world order»

«Less European, less trans-Atlantic and focused more on rising powers and rising regions»

«Despite widespread international condemnation of Mugabe’s regime, Russia stayed on the side of Zimbabwe: together with China, it vetoed the UN’s Security Council resolution for an arms embargo in 2008 and criticized Western sanctions»

«Russia has been scaling up activities in the mining of resources such as coltan, cobalt, gold, and diamonds in several other countries across Africa»

«For example, Algeria alone bought around 200 aircraft items from Russia from 2000 to2019, ranging from transporter helicopters to combat helicopters, bomber and fighter ground aircrafts. Various models of surface-to-air missiles (SAM) that are designed for destroying aircrafts or other missiles have been ordered from Algeria (several orders through 2000-2019), Burkina Faso, Egypt (several orders), Ethiopia, Libya and Morocco. Algeria also ordered tanks (more than 500 items in total), as did Uganda (67 items).»

«Cheap weapons — no questions asked»

«Africa is the continent where Russia can freely push one of the key elements of its exports: weapons. Arms trading accounts for 39% of Russia’s defense industry revenue.»

«Russian arms are good. It is universally recognized. Russian arms are also cheaper. There is no reason why African countries would not want to buy them»

«For example, in 2014, government soldiers in Nigeria were accused of human rights abuses against suspects in the country’s fight against Boko Haram. Afterwards, the US cancelled a shipment of attack helicopters, even though the deal had already been signed. That same year, Nigeria placed an order and received six Mi-35M combat helicopters from Russia»

«from 2009 to 2018, Russia accounted for 31% of Egypt’s imports of major weapons.»

«Russia’s defense industry is secretive; the law does not oblige companies to report on arms exports as such, and usually this information falls under the state’s secrecy laws.»

«China is generally growing as an arms exporter and shows similar patterns as Russia in a way of giving weapons with less political conditions»

* * * * * * *

Fornire armi e sistemi di arma è sicuramente una operazione economica, ma i risvolti politici sono evidenti: i paesi che si dotano di armamenti russi alla fine dipendono dalla Russia.

La chiave del successo è di un semplice banalità.

«Russian arms are good»

«Cheap weapons — no questions asked»

«giving weapons with less political conditions»

Il vizietto di voler imporre la propria Weltanschauung come prerequisito ai commerci sta costando all’occidente il domini mondiale.

*


Russia expands war presence in Libya.

The US has identified over a dozen Russia warplanes in Libya, marking Moscow’s first direct venture into the North African country. Experts say it is part of a larger Russian plan to expand its influence in the region.

US Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced earlier this week that Russia had deployed at least 14 warplanes to Libya in support of private military contractors known as the Wagner Group.

It was the first time Russian armed forces were identified in the North African country. Although the Wagner Group purportedly enjoys Russian state backing, the Kremlin had initially stopped short of deploying official military assets to Libya, despite Moscow’s support for general-turned-warlord Khalifa Haftar.

“For too long, Russia has denied the full extent of its involvement in the ongoing Libyan conflict,” said US Army General Stephen Townsend, who leads AFRICOM. “We watched as Russia flew fourth-generation jet fighters to Libya — every step of the way.”

The US general noted that neither Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) nor private military contractors could “arm, operate and sustain these fighters without state support — support they are getting from Russia.

“Russia is clearly trying to tip the scales in its favor in Libya,” Townsend said.

The UN said Russia’s Wagner group already has up to 1,200 mercenaries in Libya.

Russia’s man

Haftar’s LNA has sought to oust the UN-backed government Tripoli in favor of a rival Tobruk-based government. He has received support from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and, at one point, even France.

But Russia remains Haftar’s most committed ally.

Moscow has sought to expand its influence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and supported that mission through military escapades. In Syria, Moscow deployed its armed forces to prop up the Assad regime, a move that has ensured its place as a regional stakeholder.

“Strengthening the Russian military position in North Africa will undoubtedly provide Russian President Vladimir Putin with a much tighter grip over Europe and possibly even deep-rooted influence and control in the wider MENA region,” said Tomas Olivier, a counter-terrorism expert and former senior officer in the Dutch government.

“Libya’s energy resources and the presence of several deep-water ports will give Putin the logistical and geo-strategical advantage he is attempting to achieve,” Olivier added.

Risky business

Although the Russian Defense Ministry has yet to comment on the US allegations, Russian lawmaker Andrei Krasov, a member of the Russian parliament’s Defense Committee, dismissed them as “fake.”

With state-supported paramilitary forces on the ground, the Kremlin maintains the ability to deny direct involvement, yet still has strategic assets in place. That plays into its larger hybrid warfare strategy, which serves to undermine rules and responsibilities in the conflicts it engages with.

But deploying warplanes raises the stakes, making it a highly risky move for Russia, according to Theresa Fallon, director and founder of the Brussels-based Center for Russia Europe Asia Studies.

“Moscow’s supply of aircraft reportedly repainted in Syria for plausible deniability, represents a creeping shift from a proxy war to open support for Haftar,” Fallon said. “If Turkey responds by deploying more aircraft, it is likely that this could turn into another endless, Syria-like conflict.”

Although Russian-Turkish ties have thawed in recent years, the countries back opposing parties in Syria and Libya. Earlier this month, the Turkish government threatened to strike Haftar’s forces if they continued to attack diplomatic missions in Tripoli, where the UN-backed government is based.

“Libya is rich in energy sources, migrants can be leveraged in negotiations with Europe and Russian mercenaries are likely to command a lucrative revenue stream,” Fallon said. “This could turn into one more frozen conflict on which Russia thrives.”

*


Russian arms exports to Africa: Moscow’s long-term strategy.

Along with natural resources, arms exports are a key component of Russia’s economy. In the last two decades, Moscow has managed to deepen its connection with Africa and became the biggest arms supplier on the continent.

Russia’s state arms seller Rosoboronexport announced in April the first contract to supply assault boats to a country in sub-Saharan Africa. The recipient’s identity is concealed. What is known: It marks the first export contract of Russian-made final naval products to this region in the last 20 years. While this news might not have caught much international attention, this new deal adds up to a pattern: Russia is building its path to gain a foothold in Africa and broaden its export map for arms on the continent.

Once a major supplier during the Soviet era, Russia’s role in Africa waned after the collapse of the USSR. But by 2000, Russia had made inroads again, and within the last two decades Russia has managed to become the biggest arms exporter to Africa. Currently, it accounts for 49% of total arms exports to Africa, according to the database of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). 

Since 2000, Russia’s arms exports to Africa have grown significantly. The increases were mainly due to growth in Russia’s arms exports to Algeria.

Russia’s eye on Africa

Until now, Algeria remains the biggest recipient of Russian arms in Africa, followed by Egypt, Sudan and Angola. According to Alexandra Kuimova, a researcher with SIPRI’s Arms and Military Expenditure Program, the number of African countries buying Russian arms increased over the last two decades. In the early 2000s, 16 African countries were recipients of Russian arms. Between 2010 and 2019, the figure went up to 21.

Starting in 2015, Russia started selling arms to oil-rich Angola — mainly fighter aircraft and combat helicopters. The Angolan government in Luanda has long maintained strong ties with Moscow, dating back to the USSR. In 1996, Russia forgave 70% of Angola’s $5 billion (€4.56 billion) in debt, which was mainly a result of several export credits the USSR had issued Angola for buying Soviet arms and military equipment. In the new millennium, Russia was a predictable choice for Angola to sign new arms deals — and within the last five years, Angola has become the third-biggest African client for Russian arms after Algeria and Egypt. Luanda’s other suppliers are Bulgaria, Belarus, Italy and China, but their shares are small.

The situation was similar with Algeria, the largest importer of Russian arms on the African continent. Soviet-era connections allowed Russia to secure its monopoly on arms deals, and Moscow completely wrote off Algeria’s $5.7 billion in debt in 2006. That same year, Algeria signed another arms deal to buy Russian weapons for $7.5 billion.

“Officials in these countries intrinsically look at Moscow from the Soviet-era links and Moscow has been able to maintain its influence. In some cases, like Algeria, it is done by debt release; sometimes by claiming that it will build repair facilities and manufacturing or maintenance facilities,” says Paul Stronski, a senior fellow in the Carnegie Endowment’s Russia and Eurasia Program.

Russia hosted the first-ever Russia-Africa summit in Sochi in 2019 as a way of further identifying cooperation possibilities across the continent. During the summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that “the strengthening of ties with African countries is one of Russia’s foreign policy priorities”.

Arms deals were at the center of attention at the summit. African delegates were invited to exhibitions of Russian weapons: from subsonic jet trainor Yakovlev Yak-130, the Pantsir missile system, and the Tor-M2KM surface-to-air missile systems to smaller arms including a new Kalashnikov AK-200 series assault rifle. This exhibition showed that Russia does not aim to offer disruptive new technologies in arms; instead, it focuses on improving the models that have been demanded the most. 

Opening new markets in line with geopolitical vision

Russia’s growing interest in Africa is defined by not only economic, but also political and strategic reasons. Russia sees Africa as a key potential partner in the vision for a multipolar world order.

“Less European, less trans-Atlantic and focused more on rising powers and rising regions,” Stronski said. This is where Russia’s ties with countries like Zimbabwe and Sudan have been established, he stressed.

Zimbabwe has been subject to financial sanctions from the West since the early 2000s. The state was reportedly responsible for violence, tortures and killings of the president’s opponents during the era of former President Robert Mugabe. Despite widespread international condemnation of Mugabe’s regime, Russia stayed on the side of Zimbabwe: together with China, it vetoed the UN’s Security Council resolution for an arms embargo in 2008 and criticized Western sanctions. Russia exports a number of both raw and finished materials to Zimbabwe, ranging from wood, wheat and fertilizers to printed materials, railway cars and electronics. Russia, in turn, imports coffee and tobacco from Zimbabwe.

Russian companies are also involved in diamond and gold mining projects in the country. According to Gugu Dube, a researcher at the Transnational Threats and International Crime program in the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Pretoria, Russia has been scaling up activities in the mining of resources such as coltan, cobalt, gold, and diamonds in several other countries across Africa. In Zimbabwe, Russian companies are also involved in a joint venture of the Darwendale project — mining and smelting one of the world’s largest deposits of platinum group metal — for which production is planned in 2021.

These include aircrafts, missiles, tanks, air defense systems and artillery. For example, Algeria alone bought around 200 aircraft items from Russia from 2000 to2019, ranging from transporter helicopters to combat helicopters, bomber and fighter ground aircrafts. Various models of surface-to-air missiles (SAM) that are designed for destroying aircrafts or other missiles have been ordered from Algeria (several orders through 2000-2019), Burkina Faso, Egypt (several orders), Ethiopia, Libya and Morocco. Algeria also ordered tanks (more than 500 items in total), as did Uganda (67 items).

Cheap weapons — no questions asked

In Russia’s publicly available strategy documents, such as its foreign policy concept or defense doctrine, African states are defined as belonging to an unstable continent and posing an international threat in light of terrorist groups’ activities, particularly in the North African region. Such documents highlight Russia’s aims to expand interaction with Africa by developing beneficial trade and economic relations and supporting regional conflict and crisis prevention.

This ongoing instability feeds a continuous market for arms — and for Russia, Africa represents a major market without a limit in the form of economic sanctions that came from the West after the annexation of Crimea. Africa is the continent where Russia can freely push one of the key elements of its exports: weapons. Arms trading accounts for 39% of Russia’s defense industry revenue.

“Russian arms are good. It is universally recognized. Russian arms are also cheaper. There is no reason why African countries would not want to buy them,” says Irina Filatova, a history professor at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics and professor emeritus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, who specializes in Russo-African history and relations.

In comparison to other big players, arms deals with Russia do not demand political or human rights conditions. In some cases, Russia has managed to fill the gap where European or American suppliers stepped out.

For example, in 2014, government soldiers in Nigeria were accused of human rights abuses against suspects in the country’s fight against Boko Haram. Afterwards, the US cancelled a shipment of attack helicopters, even though the deal had already been signed. That same year, Nigeria placed an order and received six Mi-35M combat helicopters from Russia.

Egypt is a similar case. After a military coup in 2013, the US started cutting military aid and arms supplies to the country. This left Russia (together with France, another leading arms exporter) with an open opportunity; the country quickly intensified arms transfers to Egypt. From 2009 to 2018, Russia accounted for 31% of Egypt’s imports of major weapons.

According to Kuimova, arms deals with Russia generally go fast. If a certain country needs weapons right away and Russia has them, Russia will be able to supply. What also plays in its favor is a lack of pressure from local civil society groups to track weapons sales. Russia’s defense industry is secretive; the law does not oblige companies to report on arms exports as such, and usually this information falls under the state’s secrecy laws. A general lack of data and transparency has created a situation where civil society groups for monitoring arms trading simply do not exist.

Competition for Russia? Growing potential of Chinese arms

For now, Russia seems to be secure in its markets for arms in Africa. However, experts see the potential of China to become a bigger player for arms supplies in Africa. Currently, China accounts for 13% of arms exports to the continent.

“China has improved the quality and quantity of what it sells. They also do reverse-engineered Russian weapons. Since 2014, Russia has shared sensitive military technology as a part of its growing ties with China,” Stronski said.

Kuimova adds that today China is able to produce and offer all kinds of arms. “China is generally growing as an arms exporter and shows similar patterns as Russia in a way of giving weapons with less political conditions,” she explained.

Researcher Filatova does not see China as a threat to Russian arms in Africa, however — in her opinion, the main competitors for Russian arms will remain the same: the US and France. She defines China’s interest in Africa as predominantly economic and says that “Russia’s competition in Africa in that regard is already lost” — because economically, Russia is not able to offer what China can. Moscow instead focuses on natural resources exports and locking down arms deals. For arms importers, switching to other suppliers is costly, so the likelihood is high that Russia can ensure new deals with its arms buyers well into the future.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Africa

Congo. In un anno il morbillo ha ucciso 6,000 persone.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-03-15.

Repubblica democratica del Congo 001

La Repubblica democratica del Congo è uno degli stati più miseri del mondo. Con 99 milioni di abitanti, ha un pil ppa procapite di 816 Usd all’anno. Se è vero che il costo della vita è molto basso, sarebbe altrettanto vero constatare come la miseria si davvero severa. Miseria causata dalle guerre civili predatorie delle sue ricchezze minerarie.

Dal 1960, anno della indipendenza, il paese è stato travagliato da una serie inenarrabile di guerre civili, sanguinose e crudeli, fomentate in gran quota dai paesi ocidentali. Dal 1998 al 2003 fu travagliato da una guerra combattuta sul sui territorio dagli eserciti di ben sei stati africani, per il controllo delle miniere di diamanti, oro e coltan, nel Congo Orientale. Ricordiamo come il coltan sia un minerale ricco di tantalio e di niobio: il Congo produce buone quantità di tantalio ed il 15% del niobio mondiale.

Ma questa ricchezza mineraria è spietatamente sfruttata dalle società estrattrici, che cercano di difendersi ed ampliare il proprio raggio di azione fomentando una continua guerra civile. Siamo chiari: questo saccheggio viene più che bene per i paesi occidentali, principali consumatori di quei minerali rari e preziosi, ed i loro governi stanno facendo il possibile e l’impossibile pur di mantenere il continuo stato di guerra civile. Poi, a parole sono enfatici sostenitori degli ‘human right’.

* * * * * * *

Con un un pil ppa procapite di 816 Usd all’anno non è materialmente possibile curare in modo decente la gente che si ammali.

«Il morbillo ha ucciso più dell’epidemia di Ebola dichiarata il 1 agosto 2018 nella parte orientale del Paese, che ha causato 2.264 morti»

«La Rdc ha registrato oltre 335.413 casi sospetti e 6.362 decessi dal primo gennaio 2019 al 20 febbraio 2020, secondo le statistiche dell’Oms»

«Il morbillo è una malattia altamente contagiosa causata da un virus che attacca principalmente i bambini»

«Si tratta del peggior focolaio del mondo, che triplica il bilancio dell’epidemia di ebola nel Paese. È anche quasi il doppio delle 3.404 persone che sono morte finora a causa del coronavirus in tutto il mondo»

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A prezzo di notevolissimi sforzi, la Repubblica democratica del Congo ha avviato un intenso programma di vaccinazioni, riuscendo a coprire lo scorso anno 18 milioni di bambini, ma purtroppo molto resta ancora da fare.

Cosa mi si potrebbe dire? È una situazione

che grida vendetta a Dio ed agli uomini.

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Nota.

Ogni volta che si accende un cellulare oppure un calcolatore, si usa tantalio e niobio provenienti dalla Repubblica Democratica del Congo.

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In Congo l’emergenza è il morbillo, 6 mila morti in un anno.

L’epidemia ha fatto il doppio delle vittime del nuovo coronavirus in tutto il mondo. Il Paese africano è già pesantemente colpito dall’ebola.

Nella Repubblica Democratica del Congo, già pesantemente provata dall’epidemia di ebola, la nuova emergenza sanitaria non è il coronavirus ma il morbillo che in un anno ha ucciso oltre 6 mila persone.

Si tratta del peggior focolaio del mondo, che triplica il bilancio dell’epidemia di ebola nel Paese. È anche quasi il doppio delle 3.404 persone che sono morte finora a causa del coronavirus in tutto il mondo.

L’anno scorso, oltre 18 milioni di bambini di età inferiore ai cinque anni sono stati vaccinati per il morbillo in tutta la Repubblica Democratica del Congo e sono stati segnalati circa 310 mila casi sospetti. Una seconda fase di vaccinazioni è iniziata questa settimana.

I vaccini vengono caricati su motociclette nei villaggi intorno a Temba, a sei ore di auto lungo strade sterrate dalla comunità occidentale di Seke-Banza. Circa 73 mila bambini dai sei mesi ai 15 anni saranno vaccinati nella provincia centrale di Kongo come parte della seconda fase.     

La Rdc ha registrato oltre 335.413 casi sospetti e 6.362 decessi dal primo gennaio 2019 al 20 febbraio 2020, secondo le statistiche dell’Oms. Il morbillo ha ucciso più dell’epidemia di Ebola dichiarata il 1 agosto 2018 nella parte orientale del Paese, che ha causato 2.264 morti.

Il morbillo è una malattia altamente contagiosa causata da un virus che attacca principalmente i bambini. Le complicanze più gravi comprendono cecità, gonfiore cerebrale e gravi infezioni respiratorie.     

Gli sforzi per fermare la diffusione sia dell’ebola che del morbillo nella Repubblica Democratica del Congo sono ostacolati dalla mancanza di accesso alle cure, dalla scarsa assistenza sanitaria e dai disordini in tutto il Paese, specialmente nell’Est. 

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Africa

Libia. La Turkia ha sbarcato truppe, artiglieria e cingolati.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-02-06.

Artiglieria Semovente 001

Per il momento, la Turkia avrebbe sbarcato il Libia:

    – 6 cingolati trasporto truppe da combattimento ACV-19, evoluzione dell’ACV-15 sviluppato dall’M-113 realizzato in Turchia da FNSS Defense Systems

    – 2 obici semoventi d’artiglieria da 155 millimetri T-155 Firtina, prodotti in Turchia derivati dai semoventi sudcoreani K9

    – Un numero imprecisato di mortai pesanti da 120 millimetri HY1-12 prodotti in Turchia da MKEK

    – Due cannoni binati antiaerei da 35 millimetri Oerlikon GDF 003B prodotti su licenza in Turchia da MKEK

    – Autocarri tattici 4×4 BMC EFE da 2,5 tonnellate

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«La presenza di una nave turca per ricerche energetiche in un settore delle acque cipriote assegnato a ENI e Total ha contribuito a indurre Emmanuel Macron a rafforzare la presenza navale nell’area.

Al momento non si può dire altrettanto del governo italiano che si è limitato, col ministro degli Esteri Luigi Di Maio, a esprimere la sua preoccupazione ad Ankara. Del resto Turchia e Francia sono ai ferri corti fin dall’autunno scorso quando l’intervento militare turco in Siria sollevò pesanti critiche in Francia.

Alcune fonti rilevano che la presenza navale turca al largo della Libia sarebbe ben più consistente di quanto non appaia. La Marina di Ankara schiererebbe all’interno della Zona economica esclusiva libica (estesa arbitrariamente con il Memorandum turco-libico del 26 novembre scorso) ben 4 fregate da 4mila tonnellate classe G (le ex Perry statunitensi): la già citata F490 Gaziantep, la F496 Gökova, F497 Göksu e F495 TCG Gediz più la nave appoggio/rifornimento da 20mila tonnellate A595 Yarbay Kudret Güngör della classe Akar.»

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È inutile girarci attorno: senza forze armate è impossibile svolgere politica estera.

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I turchi sbarcano a Tripoli artiglieria e cingolati da combattimento

L’escalation dell’intervento turco in Siria prosegue inarrestabile e soprattutto senza che nessuno cerchi di ostacolarlo, nonostante l’Onu, la Ue, diversi governi europei e quello italiano abbiano dichiarato quasi quotidianamente la volontà di garantire l’embargo sulle forniture di armi nella ex colonia italiana.

Prima i consiglieri militari con droni e sistemi di disturbo elettronici, poi missili e semoventi antiaerei, poi la fanteria composta da circa 3mila mercenari delle milizie jihadiste siriane e infine artiglieria, obici semoventi e cingolati da combattimento.

Il 30 gennaio, scortata da una delle due fregate della Marina turca presenti da giorni al largo di Tripoli (una è le F-490 Gaziantep, ex US Navy classe Oliver Hazard Perry), la nave per il trasporto di veicoli Bana, battente bandiera libanese, ha sbarcato a Tripoli mezzi e armamenti turchi che includerebbero:

    6 cingolati trasporto truppe da combattimento ACV-19, evoluzione dell’ACV-15 sviluppato dall’M-113 realizzato in Turchia da FNSS Defense Systems

    2 obici semoventi d’artiglieria da 155 millimetri T-155 Firtina, prodotti in Turchia derivati dai semoventi sudcoreani K9

    Un numero imprecisato di mortai pesanti da 120 millimetri HY1-12 prodotti in Turchia da MKEK

    Due cannoni binati antiaerei da 35 millimetri Oerlikon GDF 003B prodotti su licenza in Turchia da MKEK

    Autocarri tattici 4×4 BMC EFE da 2,5 tonnellate

I numeri limitati di ACV-19 e semoventi T-155 Firtina potrebbero indicare che altri esemplari giungeranno a Tripoli con altre navi ma già da ora si può affermare che si tratta dei mezzi terrestri più pesanti, protetti e complessi forniti alle forze libiche dai diversi “sponsor” stranieri.

Sia le milizie del Governo di accordo nazionale (GNA) che quelle legate all’Esercito nazionale libico del generale Khalifa Haftar impiegano in numero limitato carri da combattimento T-55 ereditati dall’esercito di Muammar Gheddafi. Durante le operazioni contro l’Isis a Sirte le milizie di Misurata impiegarono T-55 e obici semoventi Oto Melara Palmaria (nella foto sotto) mentre l’anno scorso emerse che tank e cingolati dell’LNA venivano mantenuti in condizioni operative da team di tecnici russi appartenenti a compagnie militari private, con ogni probabilità la Wagner.

Negli ultimi anni i mezzi terrestri forniti ai due schieramenti hanno incluso una vasta gamma di blindati e MRAP (protetti contro mine e ordigni improvvisati) tutti ruotati.

L’arrivo di questi ultimi veicoli da combattimento con obici semoventi, mortai da 120 millimetri e cannoni binati antiaerei potrebbero indicare che i turchi si apprestano a favorire un contrattacco intorno alla capitale colpendo con precisione le postazioni dell’LNA migliorando così la qualità dei tiri di artiglieria finora affidati per lo più a razzi non guidati.

Gli ACV-19 sono in grado di trasportare sul campo di battaglia squadre di fanti proteggendoli in modo ben più efficace di quanto non facciano gli attuali veicoli ruotati civili o militari come i Kirpi che i turchi hanno fornito da tempo al GNA ma che non avrebbero offerto prestazioni soddisfacenti in battaglia.

E’ possibile che i mezzi sbarcati dalla motonave Bana, tutti ampiamente testati negli ultimi anni nelle operazioni nel nord della Siria, abbiano equipaggi appartenenti all’Esercito Turco (che già schiera in Libia 350 uomini delle forze speciali) ma è probabile che gli ACV-19 (nella foto d’apertura) imbarchino squadre di mercenari siriani già peraltro abituati a operare su mezzi turchi e in stretta cooperazione con le forze di Ankara che li hanno addestrati.

I cannoni binati antiaerei da 35 millimetro rafforzano ulteriormente le capacità di difesa aerea a bassa quota del GNA soprattutto contro droni, elicotteri e aerei da attacco al suolo tenuto conto che le forze aeree dell’LNA non dispongono di armi guidate lanciabili da quote elevate.

Il 30 gennaio il GNA ha annunciato di aver abbattuto un drone da ricognizione russo del tipo Orlan-10 a sud di Tripoli, velivolo già impiegato in più occasioni dall’LNA e gestito con ogni probabilità da contractors russi che ne avevano già perso un esemplare l’anno scorso vicino a Sirte.

Dall’inizio dell’offensiva contro Tripoli da parte delle forze di Haftar, nell’aprile scorso, il GNA ha reso noto di aver abbattuto o distrutto l suolo 16 velivoli nemici: 7 aerei e 9 droni.

I primi includono di cui 2 aerei da attacco Sukhoi Su-22, 2 cacciabombardieri Mig-23, un “ricognitore emiratino” (probabilmente un aereo antiguerriglia AT-802, un “cargo Ilyushin” e un addestratore armato L-39.

Dei droni non vengono meglio specificati ma, oltre agli Orlsan-10 è noto l’abbattimento di alcuni velivoli armati di costruzione cinese Wing Loong 2 gestiti dagli Emirati Arabi Uniti.

“Abbiamo ricevuto rapporti sicuri che confermano che ieri nel porto di Tripoli sono state consegnate armi e munizioni e ciò è avvenuto grazie alla protezione di due navi da guerra turche” ha detto il 30 gennaio il portavoce dell’esercito nazionale libico, colonnello Ahmed al -Mismari, in conferenza stampa.

“La questione ora – ha proseguito il portavoce – è vedere come la comunità internazionale si pone di fronte a questa pubblica invasione turca e come comunità internazionale e Nazioni Unite si posizioneranno di fronte a questa chiara violazione della tregua”.

Al Mismari, certo meno disposto a fornire dettagli circa la cinquantina di voli di aerei cargo che hanno recentemente trasportato dagli Emirati Arabi Uniti armi, mezzi e munizioni per l’LNA, ha poi affermato che l’aeroporto tripolino di Mitiga è ormai “una base aerea completamente turca”.

La presenza della motonave Bana, scortata da una fregata turca era stata segnalata il 29 gennaio da una fonte militare francese all’ agenzia France Presse. A localizzare la nave era stato un velivolo decollato dalla portaerei Charles de Gaulle impegnata alla testa di un gruppo navale in esercitazioni congiunte con la Marina Greca nel Mediterraneo centro-orientale determinate dalla volontà comune di Atene e Parigi di contrastare le iniziative navali turche in Libia e nelle acque cipriote ricche di gas.

La presenza di una nave turca per ricerche energetiche in un settore delle acque cipriote assegnato a ENI e Total ha contribuito a indurre Emmanuel Macron a rafforzare la presenza navale nell’area.

Al momento non si può dire altrettanto del governo italiano che si è limitato, col ministro degli Esteri Luigi Di Maio, a esprimere la sua preoccupazione ad Ankara. Del resto Turchia e Francia sono ai ferri corti fin dall’autunno scorso quando l’intervento militare turco in Siria sollevò pesanti critiche in Francia.

Alcune fonti rilevano che la presenza navale turca al largo della Libia sarebbe ben più consistente di quanto non appaia. La Marina di Ankara schiererebbe all’interno della Zona economica esclusiva libica (estesa arbitrariamente con il Memorandum turco-libico del 26 novembre scorso) ben 4 fregate da 4mila tonnellate classe G (le ex Perry statunitensi): la già citata F490 Gaziantep, la F496 Gökova, F497 Göksu e F495 TCG Gediz più la nave appoggio/rifornimento da 20mila tonnellate A595 Yarbay Kudret Güngör della classe Akar.

Pubblicato in: Geopolitica Africa, Putin, Russia

Putin. La Russia alla conquista dell’Africa.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-06-23.

2019-06-15__Russia_Africa__001

2019-06-15__Russia_Africa__002

Gli occidentali hanno fatto nei confronti di popoli africani una lunga serie di errori alcuni dei quali madornali quali per esempio, il voler imporre loro la visione del’l’ideologia liberal, elemento loro alieno.

Kenyatta: Gay rights is a non-issue for Kenya

La Francia ha gestito l’Africa Centrale al rango di colonia schiavista.

China: France’s Macron Should Press Xi on Rights

Macron in visita nel Burkina Faso. Per poco lo accoppano. Incidente diplomatico.

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La Cina ha invece dispiegato tutta la sua maestria diplomatica, impegnandosi con rapporti bilaterali equiparitari alla costruzione di un largo numero di infrastrutture essenziali.

Cina. Consolida il suo impero in Africa.

Cina ed Africa. I rapporti collaborativi si stanno consolidando.

Cina ed Africa. Una politica di rapporti internazionali paritetici.

Cina. Grande Muraglia contro la Germania. – Handelsblatt.

I nuovi enormi investimenti della Cina in Africa

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Se le mosse diplomatiche ed economiche della Cina e dell’occidente sono alquanto evidenti se non altro perché riportate dai giornali internazionali, quelle russe sembrerebbero azioni fantasma, ben poco chiacchierate. Ma il classico riserbo russo non significa assolutamente che Mr Putin sia inerte, anzi.

«Russia is seeking to bolster its presence in at least 13 countries across Africa by building relations with existing rulers, striking military deals, and grooming a new generation of “leaders” and undercover “agents”»

«The mission to increase Russian influence on the continent is being led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman based in St Petersburg who is a close ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. One aim is to “strong-arm” the US and the former colonial powers the UK and France out of the region»

«Russia has a military presence and peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic. CAR is described as “strategically important” and a “buffer zone between the Muslim north and Christian south”. It allows Moscow to expand “across the continent”, and Russian companies to strike lucrative mineral deals, the documents say»

«On 24 May the Kremlin announced it was dispatching a team of army specialists to the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo.»

«Five days later the Kremlin said it would host the first ever Russia-Africa summit in October in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Putin and Egypt’s president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, will chair the event. About 50 African leaders are due to attend»

«The closest relations are with CAR, Sudan and Madagascar – all put at five. Libya, Zimbabwe and South Africa are listed as four, according to the map, with South Sudan at three, and DRC, Chad and Zambia at two.»

«Other documents cite Uganda, Equatorial Guinea and Mali as “countries where we plan to work”. Libya and Ethiopia are flagged as nations “where cooperation is possible”.»

«In Madagascar the new president, Andry Rajoelina, won election with “the Company’s support”, the map says. Russia “produced and distributed the island’s biggest newspaper, with 2 million copies a month”, it adds. Rajoelina denies receiving assistance.»

«Other suggestions in the documents include trans-African road and rail-building schemes. A railway could be built linking Dakar in Senegal with Port Sudan in Sudan, along the “old hajj [pilgrimage] route”. A separate 2,300-mile (3,700km) toll road was proposed connecting Port Sudan with Douala in Cameroon»

«More immediate practical measures include setting up Russian-controlled non-governmental organisations in African states and organising local meetings.»

«Russian operatives also offer thoughts on global politics.»

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I piani di Mr Putin sono a lungo termine.

Sembrerebbe quindi difficile poter vedere risultati immediati od a breve. Ma l’esperienza insegna come questo approccio per piccoli passi discreti ponga delle solide basi durature.

Attenzione!

L’Africa odierna è povera, spesso misera. Ma è nella stessa situazione della Cina trenta anni or sono, e trenta anni passano velocemente. Pensiamo solo a come cambierebbe il mondo quando l’Africa entrasse tra i paesi emersi.


Guardian. 2019-06-11. Exclusive: Kremlin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin leading push to turn continent into strategic hub, documents show

Russia is seeking to bolster its presence in at least 13 countries across Africa by building relations with existing rulers, striking military deals, and grooming a new generation of “leaders” and undercover “agents”, leaked documents reveal.

The mission to increase Russian influence on the continent is being led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman based in St Petersburg who is a close ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. One aim is to “strong-arm” the US and the former colonial powers the UK and France out of the region. Another is to see off “pro-western” uprisings, the documents say.

In 2018 the US special counsel Robert Mueller indicted Prigozhin, who is known as “Putin’s chef” because of his Kremlin catering contracts. According to Mueller, his troll factory ran an extensive social media campaign in 2016 to help elect Donald Trump. The Wagner group – a private military contractor linked to Prigozhin – has supplied mercenaries to fight in Ukraine and Syria.

The documents show the scale of Prigozhin-linked recent operations in Africa, and Moscow’s ambition to turn the region into a strategic hub. Multiple firms linked to the oligarch, including Wagner, are known by employees as the “Company”. Its activities are coordinated with senior officials inside Russia’s foreign and defence ministries, the documents suggest.

Putin showed little interest in Africa in the 2000s. But western sanctions imposed in 2014 over the annexation of Crimea have driven Moscow to seek new geopolitical friends and business opportunities.

Russia has a military presence and peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic. CAR is described as “strategically important” and a “buffer zone between the Muslim north and Christian south”. It allows Moscow to expand “across the continent”, and Russian companies to strike lucrative mineral deals, the documents say.

On 24 May the Kremlin announced it was dispatching a team of army specialists to the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo. According to Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press spokesman, they will service Russian-made military equipment. So far Moscow has signed military cooperation deals with about 20 African states.

Five days later the Kremlin said it would host the first ever Russia-Africa summit in October in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Putin and Egypt’s president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, will chair the event. About 50 African leaders are due to attend. The aim is to foster political, economic and cultural cooperation.

The leaked documents were obtained by the Dossier Center, an investigative unit based in London. The centre is funded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian businessman and exiled Kremlin critic.

Prigozhin has been approached for comment. He has previously denied any links to the troll factory and has said of Wagner that it does not exist. Putin has previously said that entities linked to Prigozhin do not constitute the Russian state.

A map from December 2018 seen by the Guardian shows the level of cooperation between the “Company” and African governments, country by country. Symbols indicate military, political and economic ties, police training, media and humanitarian projects, and “rivalry with France”. Five is the highest level; one is the lowest.

The closest relations are with CAR, Sudan and Madagascar – all put at five. Libya, Zimbabwe and South Africa are listed as four, according to the map, with South Sudan at three, and DRC, Chad and Zambia at two.

Other documents cite Uganda, Equatorial Guinea and Mali as “countries where we plan to work”. Libya and Ethiopia are flagged as nations “where cooperation is possible”. The Kremlin has recently stepped up its ground operation in Libya. Last November the Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar travelled to Moscow and met the defence minister, Sergei Shoigu. Prigozhin was spotted at the talks. Egypt is described as “traditionally supportive”.

The graphic gives an overview of “Company” activities and achievements. It claims credit in CAR for getting of rid of politicians who are “orientated to France”, including national assembly representatives and the foreign minister. This appears to be Charles-Armel Doubane, sacked in December. It has “strengthened” the army and set up newspapers and a radio station. Russia is an “83% friend”, it says.

In Madagascar the new president, Andry Rajoelina, won election with “the Company’s support”, the map says. Russia “produced and distributed the island’s biggest newspaper, with 2 million copies a month”, it adds. Rajoelina denies receiving assistance.

Another key territory is Sudan. Last year Russian specialists drew up a programme of political and economic reform, designed to keep President Omar al-Bashir in power. It included a plan to smear anti-government protesters, apparently copy-pasted from tactics used at home against the anti-Putin opposition. (One memo mistakenly says “Russia” instead of “Sudan”.)

One ploy was to use fake news and videos to portray demonstrators in Khartoum and other Sudanese cities as “anti-Islam”, “pro-Israel” and “pro-LGBT”. The government was told to increase the price of newsprint – to make it harder for critics to get their message out – and to discover “foreigners” at anti-government rallies.

In a leaked letter Prigozhin wrote to Bashir complaining that the president had not actually followed through on the advice. Prigozhin mentioned “lack of activity” by the Sudanese government and its “extremely cautious position”.

The military deposed Bashir in April in a coup. Last week Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces opened fire on pro-democracy protesters, killing over a hundred. The Russian advisers had urged Sudan’s military council to suppress the activists with “minimal but acceptable loss of life”, one former regime source told CNN.

Meanwhile, Moscow is keen to exploit a long-running territorial dispute in Comoros, the documents say. France directly controls one out of four of the Indian Ocean islands, Mayotte. In 2018 Prigozhin employees flew to Comoros via Belarus. Their objective was to test if “political technologies” might be used to inflame the row between Paris and the Comoros government.

Other suggestions in the documents include trans-African road and rail-building schemes. A railway could be built linking Dakar in Senegal with Port Sudan in Sudan, along the “old hajj [pilgrimage] route”. A separate 2,300-mile (3,700km) toll road was proposed connecting Port Sudan with Douala in Cameroon. Neither has so far happened.

A plan to revive “pan-African consciousness” appears closely modelled on the idea of Russkiy Mir, or Russian world. The concept has become fashionable under Putin and signifies Russian power and culture extended beyond current borders.

One working paper is titled “African world”. It calls for a developing “African self-identity”. It recommends collecting a database of Africans living in the US and Europe, which might be used to groom “future leaders” and “agents of influence”. The eventual goal is a “loyal chain of representatives across African territory”, the March 2018 paper says.

More immediate practical measures include setting up Russian-controlled non-governmental organisations in African states and organising local meetings.

It is unclear how many Prigozhin initiatives have actually gone forward. There is evidence that media projects mentioned in the documents are now up and running – albeit with marginal impact. They include a website, Africa Daily Voice, with its HQ in Morocco, and a French-language news service, Afrique Panorama, based in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo.

Russian operatives also offer thoughts on global politics. One policy paper, titled “Russian influence in Africa”, says Moscow needs to find “reliable partners among African states” and should establish military bases.