• 3 minutes Biden Seeks $2 Trillion Clean Energy And Infrastructure Spending Boost
  • 5 minutes While U.S. Pipelines Are Under Siege, China Streamlines Its Oil and Gas Network
  • 8 minutes Gazprom fails to exempt Nord Stream-2 from EU market rules
  • 7 hours China wields coronavirus to nationalize American-owned carmaker
  • 3 hours Open letter from Politico about US-russian relations
  • 25 mins Joe Biden the "Archie Bunker" of the left selects Kamala Harris for VP . . . . . . Does she help the campaign ?
  • 23 hours Renewables Overtake Coal, But Lag Far Behind Oil And Natural Gas
  • 2 days Trumpist lies about coronavirus too bad for Facebook - BANNED!
  • 18 hours US will pay for companies to bring supply chains home from China: Kudlow - COVID-19 has highlighted the problem of relying too heavily on one country for production
  • 2 days China's impending economic meltdown
  • 3 days Why Oil could hit $100
  • 8 hours Trump is turning USA into a 3rd world dictatorship
  • 3 days Pompeo upsets China; oil & gas prices to fall
  • 3 days Brent above $45. Holding breath for $50??
  • 2 days Rational analysis of CV19 from Harvard Medical School
  • 2 days The Truth about Chinese and Indian Engineering
  • 2 days What the heroin industry can teach us about solar power (BBC)
Turkey Headed For An Unexpected Victory Libya's Oil War

Turkey Headed For An Unexpected Victory Libya's Oil War

Against all odds, General Haftar’s…

The Decisive Battle For Libya’s Oil Has Begun

The Decisive Battle For Libya’s Oil Has Begun

General Khalifa Haftar has announced…

Post Carbon

Post Carbon

Post Carbon Institute provides individuals, communities, businesses, and governments with the resources needed to understand and respond to the interrelated economic, energy, environmental, and equity…

More Info

Premium Content

Russia – The New Player in African Politics

In the past, Russian foreign policy was mostly based in the decisions made by the Politburo—and then after by Boris Yeltsin’s foreign policy—the pursuit of an African policy not was a priority. Now it seems that in the Vladimir Putin/Dimitri Medvedev era this has changed. The situation became a bit clearer following Vladimir Putin’s visit to South Africa and Morocco in September 2006 and Dmitry Medvedev’s African trip in June 2009, during which he visited Egypt, Nigeria, Namibia, and Angola. President Medvedev’s visit marked Russia’s interest in reviving relations with African countries and in key areas of economic relations.

Africa, and especially Nigeria, is gaining greater importance in the foreign policy of developed nations, who are competing for influence on the continent. Nigeria is already a huge market for Western consumer products and a vast energy resource due its great oil and gas reserves. China seized the opportunity to occupy the vacuum created by Russia’s self-imposed exit from Africa in late 1980s, and Chinese investment in Africa surged to unprecedented levels.

Russia is relatively a new player in African politics today, and it only has a part in a very small proportion of the continents exports and merely 1.5 percent of its FDI. Nigeria firmly holds second place among the sub-Saharan African countries in trade with Russia. In 2010 Nigerian Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe visited Moscow to talk with his Russian counterpart and meet with Russian President Dimitri Medvedev in order to discuss potential cooperation in the fields of electricity, nuclear energy, and metal resources. In advance of the meeting, President Medvedev paid the first visit that a Russian Head of State has ever made to the country.

Related Article: The Huge Risk-Reward Scenario In East Africa

In addition, as the economic relations of Russia with Nigeria have developed steadily, a number of leading Russian companies are implementing in Nigeria major investment projects in areas such as energy, hydrocarbon extraction, metals, and farm mechanization. Business relations between the countries are currently being conducted by the Russia-Nigeria Business Council (RNBC), which was established in 2009. The RNBC was formed to consolidate the efforts of Russian and Nigerian private business communities, including representatives of the small and medium businesses that are interested in the market of both countries.

Who calls the shots?

Nevertheless, since the lines between private interests and politics in Russia are blurring, we cannot simply ignore who calls the shots in the creation of the country’s foreign policy priorities in Africa. From Russia's perspective, there are important geo-political as well as strategic implications regarding Africa. The continent's 54 states represent a key voting bloc within the structures of global governance. A huge stock of non-state financial actors have a large investment in Russia’s African “safari”.

One prime example of such groups is the Russian-funded group Renaissance Capital, an investment banking firm that operates in high-opportunity emerging markets. Renaissance Group began operations in sub-Saharan Africa in 2006, from its operational office in Lagos, Nigeria, and today approximately 25 percent of the organization’s revenue comes from business dealings in Africa.

Related Article: What Would Falling Oil Prices do to Russia's Geopolitical Ambitions?

Recent Developments and Turf Wars

A 2007 ruling by the Nigerian Supreme court over the illegal sale of Aluminum Company ALSCON to RUSAL, a Russian conglomerate, has threatened the relationship between Russia and Nigeria. According to the court, ALSCON should have been sold to an American company which had the highest offer. Despite violations of RUSAL’s financial and other commitments, it is still not known why they got the deal. It is a strange story, since the former President was never considered to be close to Russian interests. However, in the wake of last year’s release of Wikileaks cables the most logical explanation is a tale of corruption in the whole process.

In July, Business Insider reported, “Rusal’s winning bid was $250 million in shares, conditions, and $130 million in cash; with this Rusal managed to arrange with the Nigerian government’s privatization agency to overrule a $410 million cash offer by the Bancorp Financial Investment Group Divino Corporation (BFIG), a Nigerian-American group based in Los Angeles and headed by Reuben Jaja.”

In Moscow the story is now developing as former partners, shareholders, and former employees expose Chairman Oleg Deripaska’s management mistakes, and his senior executives fight among themselves. More problems have surfaced after the collapse of a private arrangement between Deripaska and the President of Guinea, Alpha Conde.

When Russia's Foreign Ministry warned Nigeria of potential damage to relations, it became clear that official Russian foreign policy on the African continent is designed to protect some of its leading businessmen, despite the fact that some of them have been engaged in illegal activities.

By. Ioannis Mantzikos

Ioannis Mantzikos is a PhD Candidate at King’s College London and an external consultant for Consultancy African Intelligence. Prior to this he served as a research Director in the Hellenic African Chamber of Commerce and Development.


Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage





Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News