Russia scrambles to be the next major economic player in Africa

A MiG-29 jet fighter. African countries have become some of the leading customers of Russian arms because the weapons are inexpensive and relatively easy to maintain and operate compared to those from the West. PHOTO | ANDREJ ISAKOVIC | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Moscow’s economic and diplomatic efforts are so far focused on those African countries that the Soviet Union supported in liberation struggles.

  • Russia has also begun prospecting for markets and political influence in East Africa.

  • Russia plays a more modest role as an arms supplier to Kenya.

  • Moscow’s weapons business is booming elsewhere on the continent.

While much attention is being given to the US-China competition in Africa, Russia has been striving, with little notice, to become another major player on the continent.

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