Russia has written off the debt of over $20 billion to several African countries, the Head of the Department of International Organizations of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Russia, Vladimir Sergeyev, stated speaking at the UN General Assembly. The move seems to be strange and inappropriate under the conditions of the economic crisis. But the Russian authorities think strategically. Why did Russia do that? Why does Russia need Africa?
This write-off is not the first one. In 2008, Moscow wrote off $16 billion of debt of African countries. The diplomat said that Russia transferred $50 million to the World Bank’s foundation for poor countries. The funds of the organization are directed to the development of the African region to the south from the Sahara desert. To crown it all, Russia allocated $ 43 million to the World Bank program during the last four years. The funds were assigned to improve education in developing countries – especially in African countries. More than 8,000 students from Africa study at the Russian higher education institutions, and more than a half of them study for free.