The second Russia-Africa summit marks a significant step forward in strengthening military and security ties with African countries, with Russia placing high priority on its military and security ties with African countries. Even though Russia temporarily withdrew from Africa, security and military ties remain robust, manifested in arms deals, military pacts, and the provision of defensive equipment to African militaries.
In the absence of robust security institutions and the breakdown of defense systems in some African armies, issues of the security and military axis at the summit have demonstrated the interest of Africa in focusing on anti-terrorism policies and issues of illegal immigration, armed conflicts, organized crime, threats to maritime security, cyber threats, and providing security and surveillance systems in border areas.
Given that one of the goals of the Summit was to promote integrated security in Africa, there stands out a growing need for cooperation in the security field as a fundamental pillar for achieving stability and development, especially.
The summit’s outcomes covered a range of security and military cooperation between Russia and Africa, including collaboration to combat international information security threats, terrorism, the space arms race, and illegal crimes, expanding the reach of military-technical cooperation, and improving the exchange of knowledge and experiences.
In this vein, an information security collaboration pact was signed by Russia and Ethiopia. Moreover, Russia and South Africa have agreed to work together on joint projects for the production and development of weapons and military equipment, since there is a service center in South Africa for the repair of Russian and foreign-made helicopters.
Overall, the outcomes of the summit can be summarized as follows:
I- Creating a New Security Mechanism: This new mechanism will be put in place permanently between Russia and Africa to combat terrorism and extremism and ensure the non-deployment of weapons in space. Putin stated that the spread of extremist ideologies, international crime, and piracy are impeding Africa’s development and that Russia will support efforts to counter these threats. Putin further stated that Moscow would continue to train the military and law enforcement personnel of African countries at its specialized educational facilities.
To further strengthen African countries’ security and sovereignty, Moscow provides them with a wide variety of weapons and vehicles at no cost. In this context, the presidents of the Central African Republic and Mali praised Russia for aiding their military and security forces in their fight against terrorist organizations.
II. Exchanging Knowledge and Experience: One way to accomplish this is by fostering relationships between top-tier security representatives for the purpose of sharing intelligence, international security experiences, and successful responses to threats and challenges. Additionally, joint training and interactions between research centers can be used to further the conversation between the defense ministries of Russia and African countries on topics of practical cooperation of shared interest. Moreover, the International Anti-Terrorism Databank, which is run by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, can be used to exchange information on potential attacks and threats, including those involving chemical and biological materials, radiological or nuclear weapons, and enhanced cooperation in combating economic crimes related to money laundering and the use of proceeds of crime or other acts to finance terrorist activities. Through the exchange of knowledge, training, and crisis management centers established in Africa, it is also possible to improve cooperation in the areas of civil defense and joint response to emergencies and disasters.
III- Strengthening Collaboration in Enforcing Legal Practices: This can be done by creating strategies for cooperation, support, and coordination of efforts in the fight against transnational crime, terrorism, foreign fighters, terrorists’ use of ICT, and the illegal trade in light weapons, and by continuing cooperation in the fight against drug cultivation, production, manufacturing, and trading, in addition to closing the supply routes for weapons to terrorist organizations based on shared interests by coordinating efforts between Russian and African training institutions and developing cutting-edge training programs for this purpose.
VI- Expanding the Scope of Military-Technical Cooperation: In light of Russia’s efforts to strengthen its military-technical cooperation with various African countries over the past decades, more than 40 African countries signed military cooperation agreements with Russia during the summit. These pacts covered a wide range of areas, from arms sales (including aircraft, tanks, naval vessels, and light weapons) to joint military exercises to partnerships in the defense industry. Notably, over the past four years, Russia sold $14 billion in defense equipment to Africa, accounting for 30–40 percent of all Russian defense exports.
Despite the conflict in Ukraine, Russia surpassed China to become a significant supplier of weapons to African armies, marking the highest level of Soviet-era activity on the continent’s arms market. Top recipients of Russian weapons in Africa included Mali, Uganda, Nigeria, Sudan, and Angola. Russia provided Angola with patrol boats, artillery systems, and armored vehicles and supplied Algeria with cutting-edge fighter aircraft, air defense systems, and naval vessels. Egypt’s military capabilities have also been enhanced through the acquisition of Russian helicopters, aircraft, and missile systems. Additionally, Russia has sought to forge alliances with African countries in the fields of localizing defense industries and fostering technology transfer through joint defense system production and development. Additionally, Russia has sought to forge alliances with African countries in the fields of localizing defense industries and fostering technology transfer through joint defense system production and development. A case in point in this regard is the collaboration between Russia and Uganda in the establishment of a facility for the maintenance and assembly of helicopters.
One promising area for Russian military-technical cooperation with African countries is the modernization of military hardware. According to Alexander Mikheev, the chief executive officer of Rosoboronexport, Rosoboronexport can modernize the military capabilities of any African country at a reasonable cost, as it provides a vast array of security tools and solutions to meet these countries’ requirements for counterterrorism equipment, combat equipment, light weapons, explosives detection equipment, and satellite communications systems.
V- Enhancing Military Training Programs: One of the topics covered at the summit was the provision of training programs for the military and security service officials in Africa. In practice, more and more African military personnel are joining training and capacity-building programs in Russia, with their numbers approaching 500 each year. Through these professional military education programs, Russia is able to stay in constant contact with middle- and senior-level African military personnel throughout their entire careers.In conclusion, with the growing security threats in Africa and the need for many African countries to modernize their armed forces and defense systems in order to achieve security and development, the second Africa-Russia summit served to strengthen partnerships in the areas of military and security cooperation between Russia and Africa to build defense capabilities and transfer military technology.s