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EAEU eager to step up cooperation with African Union Economy

4 June 2019 08:48

MOSCOW. KAZINFORM The Eurasian Economic Union member states should further advance cooperation with the African Union and enable conditions for reaching higher trade and economic cooperation metrics. The statement was made by Tatyana Valovaya, Member of the Board (Minister) for Integration and Macroeconomics of the Eurasian Economic Commission, during the conference held in Moscow on 3 June to discuss economic integration as a factor in the development of the Eurasian Economic Union and Africa and a dialogue between the two regions, BelTA has learned.

Tatyana Valovaya noted that in the last eight years EAEU trade with African countries increased by 2.7 times to reach $21.7 billion in 2018. The African Union is already ahead of the USA in terms of the volume of trade with the Eurasian Economic Union. “It demonstrates the dynamics of our trade and economic cooperation well,” the official said. “Over 80% of the Eurasian Economic Union's export to Africa goes to five countries: Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, and Tunisia. African countries trade mostly with Russia although there are opportunities for reaching the common market of all countries. We should expand the geography.”

Tatyana Valovaya added that President of Russia Vladimir Putin had invited the Eurasian Economic Commission to participate in a Russia-Africa summit, which is due to take place in Sochi in October, and had backed the intention to sign a memorandum of cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Commission and the African Union.

Ambassadors of African countries to Russia mentioned interest in expanding cooperation. In particular, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Cameroon to Russia Mahamat Paba Sale stated that it is important for African countries to use the opportunities the Eurasian Economic Union offers as much as possible. “The examples of cooperation we already see indicate that it is necessary to formalize our relations,” he believes. “It is necessary to come up with a model of work that suits us best. We need agreements we will develop for the Eurasian Economic Union to allow Africa to get better integrated into the common space.”

Participants of the conference paid close attention to the advancement of the business dialogue and promising avenues of cooperation. Chairwoman of the Board of the union African Business Association Natalia Tsaizer stressed that while Russia accounts for 94% of the volume of trade with the African continent, shares of other countries are becoming more and more noticeable within the framework of interaction with Africa. “Belarus' export to Africa in the last eight years went up by 1.5 times, Kazakhstan's – by 2.4 times. In other words, interest in integration interaction with African countries is on the rise in the Eurasian Economic Union,” she stated. “In turn, African countries demonstrate rather a strong interest in products made in the Eurasian Economic Union, in opportunities to sell their goods and services, and most of all in technologies and human capital.”

Heads and representatives of over 35 embassies of African countries in Russia as well as representatives of the expert and business communities took part in the conference.