Russia is supplying African countries with weapons on a free-of-charge basis and has also written off debts to the continent’s states totaling $23 billion, Vladimir Putin said at a plenary session of the Russia-Africa summit on Friday.
“Russia and Africa are linked by traditionally strong ties of friendship and close mutually beneficial relations”, Putin said, addressing the heads of African delegations arriving in St. Petersburg.
According to the president, Russia and Africa are “in full solidarity” in their desire to defend true sovereignty, the ideals of freedom and the principles of international law, and the African continent is “before our eyes becoming a new center of power”.
Russia supplies arms to 40 African states, and some of these supplies “are made on a gratuitous basis in order to strengthen the security and sovereignty of these states”, Putin said.
In addition, the forgiveness of debts of African states continues.”To date, the total amount of debt we have written off is $23 billion,” the “president” reported.
In 2023, according to Putin’s words, Russia will forgive about $3 billion more debt to African countries. In May, he estimated the volume of canceled liabilities at $20 billion.
The last such agreement was with Somalia – on a $7.5 million debt that was issued in the 1960s, as well as on Paris Club loans of nearly $700 million.
Previously, Angola was forgiven $3.5 billion in debt resulting from arms purchases from the USSR, Ethiopia $5 billion, Algeria $5.7 billion, and Libya $4.5 billion.
Last year, according to the Accounts Chamber, Russia received only 33.8 billion rubles in loans to foreign countries and legal entities.
Compared to 2021, the receipts decreased by 3.3 times, and their final volume was the lowest since 2012. At the same time, the plan for debt repayment (138.5 billion rubles) was fulfilled only by 24% – in other words, three quarters of the amount, or more than 100 billion rubles, did not reach the budget.
The inability to repay the funds previously lent to loyal states or for Russian projects abroad resulted from the sanctions imposed on the RF Ministry of Finance, the RF Central Bank, the government and all major state-owned banks.