Moscow — Russian companies have so far failed to deliver on their promises to exploit Africa’s vast energy resources and the global pandemic should not be used as an excuse for slowing their expansion, an energy consultancy said.
Just over a year ago, Russia held its first African summit as President Vladimir Putin stepped up Moscow’s push for influence on the continent.
“I think Russian companies have to do more to really get involved. Africans want to get married, Russians want just to date,” NJ Ayuk, the head of the African Energy Chamber, told an online conference this week.
“There were lots of promises at this summit, there have been lots of memorandums of understanding (MOUs). But we are yet to see those MOUs being executed. Gazprom, Rosneft , Bashneft and others had a chance to make a real impact … They have to do more.”
Russia remains the top seller of arms to Africa. However, it has struggled to expand in other spheres of business and it is way behind China in terms of trading turnover in the region.
During the Cold War, Moscow developed close ties with many African countries, backing for instance post-colonial independence movements. Many of those ties lapsed after the 1991 break up of the Soviet Union.
Rosneft has a MOU with Mozambique, while Lukoil signed a MOU with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation at the summit.
Gazprom declined to comment. Rosneft and Lukoil did not respond to requests for comment.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Mark Potter)