Let me begin by congratulating our Kenyan and all African friends on Africa Day, which celebrates African freedom after centuries of colonial oppression and exploitation.
On this day, we all—Africans and friends of Africa—take stock of the achievements of the 60-plus years of independent sovereign political and economic development of the continent and also look ahead to better understand what needs to be improved to accelerate the progress in the new geopolitical reality.
It is now obvious to everyone that the old world order based on a neocolonial system of unfair distribution of global wealth for the benefit of the former colonial powers is crumbling in agony and shame and a new one based on sovereign equality and equitable cooperation is being born.
The process may be painful but history teaches us that all progress is always painful. Ascension is always more difficult than stagnation and degradation.
But look at the rapid tectonic changes taking place in the Global South. More countries are looking for new ways of development, trade and finance independent from the old neocolonialist system of dollar-based exploitation and pillage.
A new paradigm is being created for international cooperation free of anybody’s diktat that is built on the firm foundation of international law and respect for each other’s legitimate interests to find mutually acceptable solutions that benefit everyone.
Look at Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), an innovative format that offers a unique platform for dialogue and decision-making for the majority of the world’s population producing most of the global GDP.
Look at the Shanghai Organisation of Cooperation, whose membership grows every year as more nations realise that West-dominated institutions are becoming increasingly inept and irrelevant because of their inability to face reality and take account of the Global South’s aspirations.
Continent of the future
Africa is the continent of the future, whose huge potential is yet to be fully realised despite the gigantic successes achieved since independence.
To do that, it may need to rethink its role in the international arena to become more self-reliant and assertive. Africans have everything to be among this century’s drivers of development and progress. That is why it is so exciting to follow the very important debate that is unfolding among the Kenyan public on how to make the interests of Africa better served by today’s world.
Rest assured, my dear African friends, that Russia will always stand by you in solidarity with your efforts to put African interests first. We believe that together we can build a better world, where the prosperity of a few does not come at the expense of the many. Remember my country’s role in freeing Africa from colonialism and helping the young independent African states to build their economies and develop their societies.
So, on this Africa Day, please accept our heartfelt congratulations and best wishes of prosperity, progress and true economic emancipation! And see you at the Russia-Africa Summit in St Petersburg in July.
Mr Maksimychev is the Ambassador of Russia to Kenya. [email protected].