President Vladimir Putin of Russia says his country will offer preferential loans to enable African companies to buy industrial goods from the European country and enjoy after-sales services.

He said his government was devising a leasing mechanism tailored for Africa, and that the Russian Agency for Export Credit and Investment Insurance would provide insurance for the planned preferential loans.

The Russian leader made the disclosure during the ongoing Russia-Africa Summit and Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum holding in St. Petersburg, Russia.

According to him, the Russia government is also about to establish a dedicated investment fund for co-financing infrastructure projects in the African continent.

 Putin told African leaders attending the summit that Russia, “is developing new tools for offering preferential loans to enable Africans to buy our industrial goods, deliver them to the continent, and benefit from after-sales services.

“The Russian Agency for Export Credit and Investment Insurance is there to provide insurance for these loans. We are devising a leasing mechanism tailored for Africa and are about to establish a dedicated investment fund for co-financing infrastructure projects.”

 Nigeria’s Vice President Kashim Shettima, who is representing President Bola Tinubu; and President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa were among the over 20 heads of states present at the summit which was its second edition.

As a leader in the Information and Communications Technology space, Russia seeks to promote deeper cooperation with African countries in information security, Artificial Intelligence, and the digital economy.

Putin added, “We have positive experience in developing and using information technology solutions for administering taxes, registering property rights, offering e-government services to individuals and entities, including the corporate sector.

 “We can help African countries that are interested in these solutions launch similar systems and reaffirm our unwavering commitment to sharing our know-how for promoting technological development.”

 To expand the range of its trade and economic ties, he said, African countries should use national currencies, including the ruble in the settlement of commercial transactions.

 Russia, he added, was ready to help African countries develop financial infrastructure and connect their banking establishments to the financial messaging system created in Russia. He said this could be used to make cross-border payments independently of some Western systems that were adopting restrictions.

Putin explained, “Russia is actively reorienting its transport and logistics flows to the Global South, including Africa, of course. The North-South transport corridor that we are building is designed to provide Russian products with access to the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean, with further connections via the shortest sea route to the African continent, among other regions. Naturally, this corridor can be used in reverse to deliver African goods to Russia.

“Connecting the North-South transport corridor with Africa, lunching regular freight lines, which is our goal, and opening a Russian transport and logistics hub in a port on the eastern shore of Africa could be a good start of our cooperation. We consider it extremely important to expand the network of direct flights to Africa and to contribute to the development of the railway network in Africa. These are the most important goals of our time that we invite our African friends to tackle together.”

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