Expect to see more Russian military uniforms across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in years to come.
This will probably be the most visible outcome of a recent memorandum of understanding (MOU) entered into by the regional bloc and the Russian Federation in the field of military technical co-operation.
The agreement was signed by SADC executive secretary Stergomena Tax and Dmirty Shugaev, director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military and Technical Co-operation, on the sidelines of the recent BRICS summit in South Africa.
An SADC publication has it that the MOU will promote co-operation between the regional bloc and Russia and enhance capacity to participate in and contribute to the maintenance of regional and international peace and security.
“The parties will co-operate in the military technological and technical areas particularly in the fields of, but not limited to, joint production, research, development and technology transfer as well as in military training,” Tax said at the signing ceremony.
Shugaev said the signing of the MOU “creates the basis for developing multilateral interaction in the military and technical sphere between the Russian Federation and African countries,” adding implementation of joint projects will help maintain stability and security in the SADC region.
The SADC/Russian Federation MOU will, according to the SADC newsletter, be anchored on the common values and principles as well as the cultural and historic affinities between SADC member states’ peoples and those of the Russian Federation.
While the just signed MOU concentrates on military technical co-operation, the BRICS summit also discussed future possible involvement of the Chinese and Russian dominated bloc in peacekeeping in Africa.
This was led by South African International Relations and Co-operation Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, who proposed a BRICS working group on peacekeeping. She acknowledged the continued overall importance of UN peacekeeping for the maintenance of international peace and security.
A number of African countries took part in the recent Army Games 2018 in Russia, which was held from 28 July to 11 August. A total of 189 teams from 32 countries took part, including South Africa, which took part in seven contests, one of which was the Tank Biathlon. Other African participants included Egypt, Angola, Algeria, Morocco, Sudan, Uganda and Zimbabwe.