July 20, 2009
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Medvedev Aims to Boost Russian Influence in Africa

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev kicks off his four-nation African tour this week. Medvedev will spend two days in Egypt starting June 23 before heading south into sub-Saharan Africa.

Russia is looking to expand its economic footprint in Africa and reignite its former influence in the region, post-colonial days. Medvedev is making an ambitious foray into Nigeria, Namibia, and Angola following his stay in Egypt.

“If the Americans are now active in the post-Soviet region, then it's only natural if our leadership wants to show we can be active not only in post-Soviet region," said Apollon Davidson, Russia's leading Africa historian AFP quoted.

Russian gas giant Gazprom has complained it is far behind its foreign competitors in Africa, saying the company is ready to mount a challenge to the West.

“Traditionally, our business and economic ties have not been that strong because the Soviet Union's ties in Africa were political and ideological,” said Davidson.

"Obviously it's going to be harder than in the 1980s when you were either part of the Western or the Soviet bloc," added Samir Gadio, Africa strategist for Moscow-based Renaissance Capital. "Now there is a lot of competition."

Copyright 2009 Petroleum Africa Magazine. All rights reserved.


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