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Africa Should Coopearate With Everyone ‘In a Totally Sovereign Manner’ – Expert

African heads of state gather for a group photograph at the 35th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022.InternationalIndiaAfricaRecently, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has pointed out that at present, the West is trying to drive a wedge between Africa and Russia. He accused the US and its allies of seeking to torpedo the second Russia-Africa Summit scheduled for late July in St Petersburg, as they are trying to dissuade African nations from joining the event.Global actors are vying for influence in Africa, because the continent is seen as a crucial region, Dr. Marius Mensah, Doctor of International Law (Benin) told Sputnik.

"It's competition! Everyone wants to cooperate with Africa because it is an important continent," said Dr. Mensah.

Being a very desirable region for collaborative efforts, Africa has to choose with whom and to what extent to cooperate, the expert noted.

"So Europe, the United States, China, India, Turkey and of course Russia have their place in international cooperation with Africa," he said. "However, it is up to the African countries to decide on the level of this cooperation and their benefits."

He also stressed that Africa needs to continue its teamwork with Russia, outlining the background of Russia-Africa relations in the humanitarian sphere.

"There are agreements with Russia on the educational level, since Russia and the Soviet Union are currently training and have trained in the past [respectively], thousands of African executives, for decades! Long before the fall of the Soviet Union, many African executives were trained in the Soviet space, not only in Russia, but in Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, on Soviet territory," noted the expert.

AfricaLavrov: Russia Doesn’t Preach to African Partners, Builds Cooperation on Mutual Respect3 April, 23:50 GMTReferring to the World Bank, the expert stated that the continent needs to diversify its partners in order to enhance its economic performance. According to him, Africa must evaluate and rethink exchanges with traditional partners, namely the United States and the European Union, so that the diversification of its partnerships would enable the region to «solve the structural problems that limit its operating capacities».According to the expert, Africa should also work towards intensifying regional integration. In this regard, he referred to the creation of the African continental free trade zone, which, as he stated, can open up prospects for «boosting intra-African trade and strengthening African development capacities».The expert concluded, that African countries do not have to sacrifice some ties or partnerships for the sake of others. Thus, Dr. Mensah stated, Africa should cooperate with the whole world and «in a totally sovereign manner!»

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