"Atoms for Peace" and wheat in St. Petersburg. Grits in Niger...

(To Antonino Lombardi)

Only 17 African heads of state, according to Russia's tally, showed up for the St. Petersburg summit; less than half of the 43 leaders who attended the first Russia-Africa summit in 2019. Officially the event aims to promote efforts to strengthen comprehensive and equal cooperation between Russia and African nations in all sectors of the society, including politics, security, economic relations, science and technology, and cultural and humanitarian spheres.

Putin stated that “Russia and African countries now jointly demand the formation of a just multipolar world order based on the principles of sovereign equality of countries, non-interference in their internal affairs, respect for the right of peoples to determine their own destiny”. He further stated that Russia will continue to help African countries too "in the fight against terrorism and extremism, against pandemics and famine, in addressing issues of environmental, food and information security".

The main theme of this year's summit is wheat. The Russian president said Russia would deliver 25.000 to 50.000 tons of free grain each to Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Eritrea, Mali, Somalia and Zimbabwe over the next three to four months.

Russia's exit from the grain deal last week sparked a global outcry, particularly among African leaders who, facing domestic pressure and fearing a possible civil backlash caused by rising grain prices, did not take good for Russia's exit from the agreement. Korir Sing'Oei, head of Kenya's foreign affairs ministry, said on twitter: "Russia's decision to exit the Black Sea Wheat Initiative is a stab in the back at global food security prices and disproportionately impacts already drought-stricken Horn of Africa countries".

“Atoms for peace and development". The summit program also discussed nuclear technologies for the development of the African region. It is stated that one of the key strategic tasks facing any state in the contemporary world is the use of technologies that ensure energy security, ensure the sustainable development of various economic sectors, and increase the scientific and human capacity of the country. A large number of African countries have already turned their attention to nuclear technologies decarbonising the economy and facilitating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Meanwhile, yet another coup d'état is taking place in Niger on the African continent... Mohamed Bazoum, former interior minister who became head of state in 2021, considered one of the most pro-Western leaders in the Sahel has been dismissed.

Colonel Maj Amadou Abdramane, after raiding the presidential palace and dismissing the head of state on Wednesday evening, read a statement on live TV announcing that he had put an end to Bazom's government by motivating the coup with “the continuing deterioration of the security situation and poor economic and social governance”. Among the nine soldiers who appeared on television there was also Abdourahmane Tchiani, a loyalist of former president Issoufou whom the current president wanted to remove from his post.

Yesterday, July 28, General Tchiani appeared on the national television of Niger and read a statement as "President of the National Council for the Protection of the Homeland". Tchiani, former head of the presidential guard, presented himself as the new leader of the country and justified the mutiny and Bazoum's dismissal by referring to the “deterioration of the security situation” in Niger, afflicted by the violence of jihadist groups.

The self-proclaimed new leader of Niamey then asks the countries “technical and financial partners” of Niger of “understand the specific situation” and provide “all the necessary support to allow us to face the next challenges”.

As now throughout the Sahel, the Russian group Wagner is very present in Niger and someone claims its direct involvement in the coup.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) condemned the coup and mandated Patrice Talon, president of Benin, to go to Niger to negotiate with the army.

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres called on Thursday for Bazoum to be released “immediately and unconditionally”, telling the soldiers to "stop obstructing the democratic governance of the country and respect the rule of law".

Photo: Kremlin / web