Kenya has received an invitation for the Russia-Africa political summit and the accompanying Russia- Africa Economic Forum on October 23-24 2019 in Sochi, Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will then meet up with President Uhuru Kenyatta as Moscow woos Kenya, which it regards a strategically important bilateral partner in the East African trading bloc.
Foreign Affairs principal secretary Macharia Kamau has confirmed that Kenya will be in attendance together with top ranking foreign affairs officials.
Russia’s motive is to strike deals with Kenya across various sectors including medicine, blue economy, aeronautical and space engineering as it would benefit from Russian expertise in drilling equipment, food, and medicine as well as infrastructure projects.
International relations experts say that Moscow is keen to re-establish its old Soviet ties with African states and buy influence in the continent as it presents itself as the alternative to perceived “self-interested” colonial powers such as the United Kingdom and the United States.
“Russian President Vladmir Putin seems to have new aspirations in Africa to restore his country to strong power status, spurred by concerns that China, India, Brazil and especially the United States are intensifying their involvement in Africa,” says Aruuke Uran Kyzy, a researcher at the World Research Centre, a global policy institute.
Mr. Putin expects to engage the African leaders to beef up trade and investment deals with Kenya and African states during the summit.
Kenyan officials led by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma also recently attended the St Petersburg International Economic Forum where Russian officials tipped Kenya and other African nations to solidify their position as the new centres of global economic growth in recent years.
Some of the Russian firms that are expected to be angling for possible deals with Kenya at the upcoming Sochi meeting include Gazprom, Rosneft and Lukoil (hydrocarbons), Rosatom (nuclear), Uralkali and Uralchem (fertiliser) and Rosoboronexport (arms).
President Kenyatta has been putting emphasis saying that Kenya wants to strengthen ties with and “to grow new markets that focus on the East.”