Windhoek — President Hage Geingob on Thursday invited Russia to join Africa as it seeks to leverage the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Geingob made this invitation while speaking at the historic first ever two-day Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, Russia during the plenary session on Thursday.
He said AfCFTA as one of the key priorities of Africa's Agenda 2063 and a flagship project for the continent, highlights one of the most recent significant continental achievements. "The AfCFTA four promises to unlock Africa's economic potential and bolster regional and continental economic integration and trade," he said before inviting "Our Russian friends to join".
Geingob also expressed gratitude to Russian President Vladimir Putin, for the invitation extended to African leaders to be part of "this important and historic summit".
"We also thank President Putin and the people of the Russian Federation, for the warm hospitality extended to us, since our arrival in Sochi," said Geingob.
He said as former freedom fighters, he recalls the invaluable support they received from the Soviet Union, now Russia. "This is the country where we were housed, trained and supported, during our liberation struggle. It is for this reason that Russia and Africa share an enduring and longstanding partnership, founded on the firm bonds of friendship and solidarity," Geingob said.
He said Africans are pleased that during this second phase of the struggle, they are able to converge at this "historic summit", to reignite their bonds of friendship with the Russian people, and set the stage for an effective mechanism for enhancing mutual beneficial cooperation between Africa and Russian.
"Africa is undergoing a period of rapid transformation, where we are in pursuit of achieving "an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena" with a new focus in order to drive Africa's development and economic growth."
Underpinning this vision is Agenda 2063, he said, is a "manifestation of the pan-African drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity pursued under Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance". "Our world is at a crossroads. The forces of nationalism are growing; promoting unilateralism through protectionism and placing multilateralism under threat. If this trend is not countered, we could slide into an era of unipolarism," he added.
This, he said, will not be beneficial for anyone, in the long run. "Our world needs multilateralism and countervailing forces to keep each other in check," Geingob added.