Golovchenko: negative dynamics need to be reversed in co-operation with Africa
It is necessary to make every effort and find the right tools and formula to reverse the negative dynamics in co-operation with African countries – as stated by Belarus’ Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko during his working meeting on increasing export supplies of domestic goods and services to African markets in 2023
“Africa is a continent that has a huge development potential, it is assessed by experts as a new driver of international growth. We have been building a trusting and mutually beneficial dialogue with African countries for a long time. Direct contacts at the highest level with the leaders of a number of African countries create favourable conditions for the development of our ties and the deepening of partnership,” the PM said.
At the same time, according to Mr. Golovchenko, the accumulated political capital has not yet been properly converted into successful trade and economic projects, “In 2022, Belarus’ exports to Africa were slightly more than $200m, and – most worryingly – a downward trend is observed. The maximum export volumes of $400m+ were registered in the pre-COVID year of 2019. However, even this figure is extremely small for the continent which population makes 1.5bn people.”
The PM emphasised that, though exports of services to African countries have more than doubled this year, the figure is still insignificant: about $20m. “Accordingly, the tasks set by the President to ensure the growth of exports of goods and services to African countries at a faster pace than total exports are not being fully realised. At the same time, this year, following the meetings of the President of Belarus with the leaders of Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea, serious tasks have been set to develop not just trade, but industrial co-operation and interaction in the field of medicine, pharmacology, sci-tech and education. Naturally, those responsible for the solving of this task will be seriously accountable,” he added.
Mr. Golovchenko set a task to make every effort and find the right tools and formula to reverse the negative dynamics in co-operation with African countries. “Keep all the talk about the sanctions and complexity of calculations to yourself; you do not even need to voice them. What is most regrettable is that the materials submitted by the Foreign Ministry do not have any concrete proposals for expanding co-operation. There is even no elementary vision of what, to whom and in which direction to develop. Therefore, taking into account this situation, we will consider how ministries, state corporations, and Foreign Ministry structures have worked in the African direction over the past period, and we will decide along which path we are moving further. I am also interested in how the work on the implementation of the agreements reached at the highest level is structured, and how we will continue to build work with our reference points on the African continent," the Prime Minister concluded.