Work hard and you will find success

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Dmitry Medvedev visited Angola

29 june 2009

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev completed his African tour paying an official visit to Angola, the Kommersant Daily reports. As it occurred during his earlier visits to Egypt, Nigeria and Namibia, Mr. Medvedev used his Angolan trip to boost “pragmatic” interests of Russia and those of Russian companies. Angola happens to be the main attraction for Russian diamond miner ALROSA.
The Russian-Angolan talks resulted in several agreements important for Russian business in this African country. These included an agreement on mutual protection of investments.
It will be remembered that Mr. Medvedev talking to journalists in Namibia’s capital noted that Russia pursuing its foreign policy should pay more attention to African countries leaning on the historic advantages of friendly relations existed between the USSR and African nations. “These are our congenial neighbors, the countries to which we rendered our sincere assistance and which, on the one hand, are in the process of wonton growth, while on the other hand they have quite a lot of problems,” the Russian president said. He added that his current visit “combines both historic overtones and quite a pragmatic agenda”. He also explained that some major Russian companies are already “taking part in establishing production facilities in the African continent by either buying factories or minefields”. According to Mr. Medvedev, “this is not some kind of charitable activity, but precisely developing business with a view to gaining profit and at the same time making it beneficial to our African partners” and “these projects should grow in their number.”
In Angola, Russia considers it important to proceed with the projects involving ALROSA as well as to launch a project for developing Angola’s national satellite communication system, ANGOSAT, involving other Russian companies and Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency.
ALROSA’s CEO Sergey Vybornov explained to Kommersant, that ALROSA’s projects are the biggest in Africa. The company intends to take part in construction of two hydroelectric power stations in Angola to be built on the Kunene and Orange Rivers. According to him, taking into account the huge power shortage across the whole southern part of the African Continent these ventures are not only a “perfect business”, but also projects which are important for Russia. He said that “Russian President’s visit to Angola is backing up projects which are of geopolitical importance.” “We are a state-owned company doomed to maintain the Russian foreign policy in Angola,” Mr. Vybornov explained and added that ALROSA due to its good position and support in Angola may be successful in using this ‘bridge-head’ to advance its projects to other African countries. Angola was the only country to back up ALROSA’s policy aimed at avoiding a slump in rough diamond prices by way of state purchases of rough. According to Sergey Vybornov, due to this it was possible to maintain prices for Russian and Angolan rough diamonds.
Angola’s President Jose Eduardo dos Santos did not conceal his pleasure in welcoming the first official visit of Dmitry Medvedev and signing base-setting documents on trade and economic cooperation. He expressed his hope that this visit “will give another and more powerful impetus to the development of our cooperation.”