Russia’s small business able to boost share in Africa through entering big projects

Russia’s small business involved in manufacturing can step up work with countries on the African continent through entering the projects of big companies, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sergei Katyrin said in an interview with TASS.

“Overall the share of our small businesses in international economic activities is very small, whereas on the African continent it is far from big, particularly due to geography and logistics. Speaking about manufacturing, small companies should join big firms, which have already entered [the African market] and have sustainable operations with good prospects,” Katyrin stated.

This refers to projects of big Russian holdings that have operations on the African continent, Katyrin noted, adding that there are very few local production companies working with African states. “The companies that may be referred to mid-sized ones are feeling slightly better, which are those involved in pharmaceuticals, information technologies and mining industry. Here there are quite a few opportunities both from the viewpoint of joint or establishment of own production and in terms of trade operations,” he explained.

Business councils as mechanisms of cooperation between Russian, African firms

Business councils are the most efficient mechanism of cooperation between the businesses of Russia and African states, the president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry told TASS.

In December 2018, President of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce and the Union of African Chambers of Commerce Ahmed El Wakil suggested that a Russian-African chamber of industry and commerce be set up to enhance the efficiency of cooperation and export potential to African countries.

“My sense is that not a joint Russian-African chamber of industry and commerce, but two-sided structures are a more efficient mechanism of business cooperation. I mean business councils first of all. The main task of those business councils is to unite entrepreneurs interested in bringing those products and technologies to the African markets, protect their interests, look for potential partners and information support,” Katyrin said.

“I believe that it is hardly realistic to create a Russian-African chamber,” the expert said, adding that he can hardly imagine “cooperation between huge Russia and 180 chambers in the chamber of industry and commerce system in regions and Africa, which is as huge.” “All countries of that continent are different in terms of economic potential, development level, each has its visa and logistics conditions, tax regimes. Bilateral mechanism is more efficient, providing an opportunity to approach governmental structures and outline and solve problems,” he explained.

On October 23-24, the resort city of Sochi is hosting the Russia-Africa Summit, co-chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egypt’s head of state Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The leaders of all 54 African countries have been invited to come, and at least 40 of them have confirmed their participation. Eight major African integration associations and organizations are also involved in the event. On the summit’s sidelines, an economic forum is taking place, in which the continent’s heads of state and representatives of the business community and government agencies participate. The Roscongress Foundation is the organizer of the event, and TASS is the official photo host agency of the summit and economic forum.