Russia and Angola vowed to work together in areas ranging from energy to mining and the telecommunications sectors in a bid to bolster ties between the former Cold War allies.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Angola, the first to the African nation by a Russian head of state, follows stops in Egypt, Nigeria and Namibia where he faces tough competition from China and the United States for resources.
Standing next to Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Medvedev said Russian state-oil company Zarubezhneft and Angolan state-run oil firm Sonangol were in talks to explore for hydrocarbon deposits, Reuters reports.
“We also discussed cooperation in other areas and hope we can realise projects that are worthy of the new age,” he said.
One such project is Russia’s funding of the construction of two major dams in Angola’s Kwanza River.
Another is a $300 million Russian loan to improve Angola’s telecommunications sector with the launch of a satellite branded Angosat.
Both countries signed a total of six agreements to cooperate in several sectors of the economy in hopes of increasing trade between them which stood at just $76 million last year.
“We hope the signing of these agreements will bolster ties between the two nations,”
Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who studied in the former Soviet Union and speaks fluent Russian, told journalists.
Today, Russia is the world’s biggest oil producer and Angola, which holds the rotating presidency of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), emerged from the civil war to rival Nigeria as Africa’s top oil producer.
Angola is also the world’s fifth biggest diamond producer and Russian state diamond miner Alrosa has stakes in two joint mining ventures, Catoca and LUO-Camatchia-Camagico. Alrosa has said it wants to invest in other sectors in Angola also.