The Ukrainian-African renaissance opens up new political and economic opportunities for our country, and African partners are ready to implement joint mutually beneficial projects in many areas from education to digitalisation.
“Morocco, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Mozambique, Nigeria. In total, the route of my second African tour covered 28,000 km. Planes, transfers, four to five hours of sleep, but this trip was worth it. We see new opportunities opening up for Ukraine here on the African continent as a result of these efforts,” Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba stated.
The minister emphasised that in the previous three decades, Ukraine’s African policy developed by inertia from Soviet times, and Ukraine gradually lost Africa. Currently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs implements the policy of the Ukrainian-African renaissance.
“African countries are ready for the return of Ukraine in all senses: For a greater number of African students studying in Ukraine, which is beneficial to our educational institutions and increases the soft power of our state; ready to boost trade volumes; ready for a new development of tourism after the war; they are also interested in pharmaceuticals, digitalisation, and many other areas. We felt complete openness to the implementation of mutually beneficial projects. And the main thing is that they want to do business with Ukraine without intermediaries,” he said.
Kuleba noted that political opportunities, not only economic ones, will open up at the junction of these factors.
“We seek to ensure effective vote by African countries for our resolutions in the UN General Assembly, as well as encourage efforts within their capabilities to isolate Russia on the international stage. This is a complicated story since the Russian Federation has long systematically invested in Africa. But water hollows out a stone, and we will definitely hollow out the stone of Russian influence in Africa,” Ukraine’s top diplomat emphasised.
The minister pointed to full support for Ukraine at the negotiations behind closed doors. At the same time, Russia has systematically built a policy in Africa for years and has many “hooks.” Ukraine’s task is to liberate African countries from them through quiet diplomatic work.
“If Russia did not feel threatened by our diplomatic efforts, Lavrov would not fly there after me, and Russian diplomats in Africa would not be running around convincing African governments to cancel my visits and not meet with me. All this activity of the Russians shows one thing: they feel a real threat to their influence in Africa posed by our efforts,” the minister said.
Kuleba noted that as part of the course towards opening new horizons, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky set the task of opening 10 new embassies of Ukraine in Africa.
“Eight out of 10 countries have already agreed to open Ukrainian embassies; the other two are completing the relevant processes. This is a good indicator. There are already several ambassador candidates for four or five countries,” he said.
The minister noted that the opening of embassies is an important, but not the only, tool for working on the African continent. He announced by the end of the year the creation of new institutional mechanisms for interaction with African countries. According to him, these mechanisms will allow the problems of African partners to be solved so that Ukraine will get new opportunities in Africa.