Africa: Key Points From Lavrov’s African Tour


Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently concluded his latest tour of Africa, visiting four countries in two regions of a continent where Western governments have expressed concern about their declining influence in recent years.

The top diplomat began his trip last week on Monday, first stopping in Guinea before moving on to the Republic of the Congo, Burkina Faso, and finally Chad on Wednesday.

What was the purpose of the tour?

Lavrov’s trip was aimed at assessing the growth in relations between the countries he visited and Moscow, as well as engaging in fresh negotiations he described as “mutually beneficial”.

Last summer, at the second Russia-Africa Summit in St Petersburg, Moscow pledged to strengthen ties with African countries and signed a number of agreements, including on defence cooperation, food security, education and research.

During his meetings with officials on his tour, Lavrov reiterated the Russian government’s commitment to fulfilling these promises, according to statements released by the Foreign Ministry.

Guinea talks

The Russian foreign minister arrived in Guinea early on Monday, marking his first visit to the West African nation since 2013.

He was welcomed to the capital, Conakry, by transitional president Mamadi Doumbouya, who has ruled the country since taking power in a coup in 2021.

The Guinean leader denounced attempts by Western powers such as the US and France to intervene in Africa’s political challenges as racist and condescending.

Lavrov and his Guinean counterpart, Morissada Kouyate, discussed a variety of issues and agreed for the two countries to collaborate on projects involving geological research, the development of mineral deposits, and health, according to Moscow’s Foreign Ministry.

Defence ties with the Congo

Late on Monday, Lavrov arrived in the Republic of the Congo, with talks focused on defence cooperation and ending the Ukraine conflict.

The following day, during a press conference in Oyo, a city about 400km north of Brazzaville, Lavrov announced that Russia and the Congo would continue their intensive military and military-technical collaboration in the interest of “Congo’s defence capabilities.”

The Congo’s arsenal includes Soviet- and Russian-made weapons such as armoured vehicles, rocket artillery and helicopters.

In May 2019, the Russian and Congolese defence ministries signed a contract to send Russian military specialists to the Congo to train and assist the Congolese army in the operation, maintenance, and repair of previously supplied military equipment and special assets.

Lavrov last visited the Central African state in July 2022, when Moscow and Brazzaville explored expanding collaboration in the sectors of energy and mineral resources, along with infrastructure development.

On Tuesday, the top Russian diplomat and his Congolese counterpart, Jean-Claude Gakosso, called for a peace plan for the Ukraine conflict that would include talks between the two main parties involved.

“It seems to me that those who send arms to Ukraine are not advocates of peace. Quite the opposite; they are those who challenge humanity, literally pushing us towards a worldwide conflict,” Gakosso stated.

Lavrov also commended the Congolese president, Denis Sassou Nguesso, for maintaining a “balanced” stance on Russia’s military actions in Ukraine.

Lavrov assesses relations with key Sahel state

On Tuesday night, the minister arrived in Burkina Faso for his first visit in the history of Moscow-Ouagadougou relations. He met with Ibrahim Traore, the West African nation’s interim president, as well as Burkinabe Foreign Minister Karamoko Jean Marie Traore.