A new page in the history of Russia’s energy partnership with the Global South was discussed at the Russia-Africa Summit
Photo: Julia PYKHALOVA
Within the framework of the II Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum, an important session was held dedicated to the development of Russian-African cooperation in the field of nuclear energy. Participants discussed current progress in this area. In addition, current issues and perspectives for interaction aimed at ensuring stable and sustainable development of the energy industry on the African continent were considered.
Africa, with a population of more than 1.5 billion, faces a number of significant challenges, including economic hardship, inadequate education and access to health care, and access to clean water and food. One of the key factors influencing the solution of these problems is ensuring stable energy security. The development of infrastructure and the ability of African countries to face the challenges of the future depend on reliable sources of energy.
Against this background, Russia, which has developed technologies in the field of nuclear energy, is ready to become a reliable partner for Africa. Our country’s provision of technical expertise, investment and support can play a critical role in building energy security on the continent, which in turn would contribute to successfully addressing the many challenges facing Africa today. Alexei Likhachev, General Director of Rosatom, spoke about this.
– The first distinctive feature of the continent is the enormous growth potential of technology, as well as the level and quality of life of people. In this regard, we are sure that nuclear technologies will be in high demand in Africa in the coming years,” Likhachev stressed. The second is the variety of requests. And under this diversity, Russia can offer a fairly wide range of technological and business solutions.
He added that Africa will soon “feel the taste” of nuclear power, mentioning Rosatom’s offer for the construction of a new nuclear power plant in South Africa and the construction of the first nuclear power plant in Egypt by the Russian agency.
“We are already seeing improvements in many areas of our lives,” said Amged El-Wakil, chairman of the board of the Egyptian Nuclear Power Authority. – For example, we hope that the number of jobs in the region will multiply by 9 thanks to the Rosatom project. A special school was even opened in Ed-Dab’a to train future specialists.
El-Wakil noted that nuclear power would help Egypt reduce CO2 emissions and also provide a source for water purification systems.
For his part, the executive director of the Rwandan Atomic Energy Board, Fidel Ndahayo, recalled that nuclear energy “is not just about money.” This also applies to economic growth, as the nuclear power sector is linked to agriculture, mining, and even healthcare.
– I want to once again express my gratitude to Rosatom for the fruitful interaction and strengthening of relations between our countries. Thanks to Russia, now around 70% of the Rwandan population has access to energy, and by the end of next year we hope to increase these numbers completely,” Ndahayo concluded.
Tanzania’s Minister of Minerals Doto Mashaka Biteko said the use of uranium will help increase GDP by 10% and called on Russian participants in the session to invest in their country’s national projects.
In response, Likhachev noted that Russia always offers each country three components of cooperation: its own nuclear generation, the entire volume of locations associated with the creation of such capabilities, as well as a set of other necessary competencies.
– Starting to work with one or another newcomer country or expanding work with a member of the nuclear club, we are building a special relationship of trust. The issue of interstate cooperation in the nuclear field is always on the agenda of top officials. At the same time, cooperation can be successfully implemented only if there are serious relationships of trust”, added the general director of Rosatom. – The power of atomic energy is too great to be considered only from the point of view of the business aspect.
The Minister of Hydraulics, Energy and Mining of the Republic of Burundi, Ibrahim Uwizeye, shared that his country of more than 13 million inhabitants has an energy deficit of 80%. Having visited the LNPP, Uviseye had no doubts about the need to cooperate with Rosatom, and already on the sidelines of the forum, an agreement on cooperation in the peaceful atom was signed.
Africa4Nuclear founder Princess Mtombeni noted that it is clear that Russia can offer sustainable solutions for the African continent. And if the African countries accept Russia’s proposals, they will find themselves “in a much better situation than before.”
– Look at the results of Russia’s cooperation with Egypt and India. We constantly emphasize the achievements of the Russian Federation, because it is important that there are no misunderstandings of what it can really bring us in the field of nuclear technology,” Mtombeni said. – Africans are already tired of living in the dark, and nuclear energy will be the next stage in the development of my continent.
Zimbabwe’s Minister of Energy and Energy Development, Zhemu Soda, agreed with her. According to him, nuclear energy is the solution for Africa, which is so badly needed, first of all, to lift people out of poverty.
At the end of the session, Likhachev confirmed that the atom for Africa is an opportunity to “close the distance” and in a few decades to do what other civilizations “took hundreds of years to do.”