Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by representative of the Russian Federation Mr. Boris Meshchanov at the High-level Policy Dialogue on Africa

President of the 78th session of the General Assembly,

Secretary-General of the United Nations, 

Distinguished Ambassadors of the South Africa and South Sudan,


Mr. Chairman, 

It is an honour for us to be part of this albeit informal but a very timely and important high-level event organized by the Office of the Special Advisor on Africa and the dedicated to promotion of the educational and STI agenda on the African continent. We have to admit that the situation in many countries in the region is still unstable. Interethnic and ethnic conflicts have not been resolved, and acute political and socio-economic crises persist.

Sustained economic growth and achieving the SDGs will be impossible without developing local manufacturing base and raising labor productivity which in its turn most likely will be unsuccessful without robust national education and scientific systems. Those are often well contributed by international partnerships. Against this backdrop, comprehensive strengthening of educational, scientific, cultural and youth exchanges with African states has long been one of the priorities of the foreign policy of the Russian Federation. Our cooperation, rooted in the period of joint struggle against colonialism, is therefore strategic and long-term in nature. The traditional area of Russian-African collaboration has been and remains the preparation of qualified personnel. Today, almost 35 thousand students from Africa are studying in Russian higher educational institutions, of which about 7 thousand are supported from our federal budget. This number is growing every year. The regional quota for training on a budgetary basis has increased approximately two and a half times over the past 3 years.

Moreover, our plans include opening branches of leading Russian universities on the continent. Let me highlight cooperation within the framework of the Russian-African Network University. Another recent example is the agreement signed in the margins of the Second Russia-Africa Forum on the creation of a Consortium of universities “Subsoil of Africa”,designed to foster entrepreneurial collaboration between African universities and industrial companies, with active support of Russia, to promote innovative engineering education and increase beneficiation of African natural resources including through improving the state regulation of environmental management and training of highly qualified specialists for the mineral resource complex of the continent.

We will continue to help African friends in the development of not only higher, but also general and secondary vocational education, train teachers, mentors and technical personnel for schools and colleges, establish joint schools, for which adapted teaching materials are already being developed based on a synthesis of African and Russian educational programs.

Recently, a project has been launched in 28 African countries to create open education centers to train teachers and educators, on the African soil, in preschool institutions, primary and secondary schools. To this end, we plan to significantly increase the enrollment of African students in Russian pedagogical universities.

Healthcare and the fight against epidemics being among crucial challenges for Africa - are an important area of Russian-African cooperation. Of the Africans currently studying in Russia, more than 10 thousand are being trained in medical specialties. Russia was one of the first to respond to the call and help African countries during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemicsending millions of tests to the Continent free of charge, and together with South Africa scientific research was launched on new strains of a dangerous virus. Two Russian mobile laboratories were offered to our partners from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Russian-Guinean center for the study of infections was equipped, where more than 20 diagnostic drugs have been developed. More importantly, about 1.5 thousand local specialists have been trained in Russian methods of infection prevention and control. A joint center for the study of infections in Burundi has also been established.

Strategically, a large-scale Russian program of assistance to Africa in combating infections has been prepared, designed until 2026, for which $13.4 million has been allocated. Within its framework, 10 mobile laboratories will be supplied to the countries of the continent, hundreds of specialists will be trained, and joint research will be conducted.

In conclusion but no less important, youth exchanges have increased. Representatives of African states annually participate in a program of short-term study trips to Russia for young representatives of political, social, scientific, and business circles as part of the “New Generation” program. All our African friends were invited to the World Youth Festival in March this year. The large-scale event eventually brought together young people from all over the world - 190 countries took part in it. The Russian Federation intends to continue to make a significant contribution in assisting the development of youth policy on the African continent, taking an active part in the development of the strategic line of the international community and practical measures to support its financing.

Thank you for attention.

Video of the statement