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Russia’s Weakened Position in the World Offers a Chance for African States to Express their Agency

The second Russia-Africa Summit takes place in St Petersburg on 27-28 July. This comes at a time of a major geopolitical shift, which African leaders may see as offering beneficial opportunities. The previous summit, in 2019, led to the signing of 92 agreements, contracts and memoranda of understanding worth over $11 billion. Several African countries (Nigeria, for one) have benefited from these agreements, especially in areas of energy generation and education. This time, many countries on the continent are facing a cost-of-living crisis. But how likely are they to get help from Russia? Its invasion of Ukraine has led to sharp increases in fertiliser and grain prices, pushing up food prices and raising food insecurity on the continent. The second complication in the engagement is the controversial role of the Wagner group in several African countries. The third is that the state of Russia’s economy limits President Vladimir Putin’s ability to offer Africa any meaningful economic assistance.