The Russia-Africa summit begins on Thursday, with Moscow counting on the number and level of African representations to show it has not been isolated by the offensive in Ukraine, while access to Ukrainian and Russian cereals and fertilizers will dominate the summit.
Petersburg, where the event runs until Friday, the first delegations arrived this Tuesday, including those from Angola, headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Téte António, those from Benin and the Seychelles, also led by the respective heads of diplomacy, reported the Russian agency TASS.
Moscow announced that it had confirmed the participation of delegations from 49 countries, "half represented at the highest level, from heads of state or government", according to Alexander Polyakov, deputy director of the Africa department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and most should arrive on Wednesday.
The presidents of Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mali were among the first to confirm their presence, according to information provided by Moscow.
In an article published on Monday on the Kremlin's website, the Russian President wrote that "today, the constructive, confident and forward-looking partnership between Russia and Africa is particularly significant and important".
This second summit is expected that Russia and African countries will sign an "action plan until 2026" and a series of bilateral documents, as announced by the Kremlin, trying to make the relationship go beyond agreements in the area of defense and arms sales, which summarize, in most cases, to date Moscow's relationship with Africa.
However, for Moscow, the most important thing, according to international analysts interviewed by Lusa, is to show an understanding with African states, despite the conflict in Ukraine, which some have condemned at the United Nations, and the end of the cereal agreement.
That is why it is so important how many and at what level African countries will be represented, which today led the Kremlin to accuse Western countries of "unprecedented pressure" on African states not to participate in the summit.
The European Union responsible for relations with Africa recently told Lusa that many African countries would wait until the last moment to decide at what level they would participate, which matches the response, for example, from São Tomé and Príncipe, which in recent days had decided only not to send members of the Government, admitting a representation at the diplomatic level.
The spokesman for the Russian Presidency, Dmitri Peskov, announced this Tuesday that Putin will present the proposal to guarantee the supply of cereals and fertilizers to the world market and to the African countries that need them most.
The hot topic of this second Russia-Africa summit will be this, analysts admit, after Moscow's abandonment of a crucial agreement that allowed Ukraine, since the summer of 2022, to export its cereals through the Black Sea, including to Africa, despite the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports.
In one year, this agreement allowed almost 33 million tons of grain to be removed from Ukrainian ports, helping to stabilize world food prices and avoid the risk of shortages.
In addition to cereals, African states should also take the opportunity to try to give strength to their attempt to find a solution to the war in Ukraine, after the proposal previously presented by seven countries, led by South Africa.