Following the Sochi 2019 summit, bilateral co-operation agreements between Russia and sub-Saharan African countries have multiplied … After the Central African Republic, Mali is the focus of attention, especially last Thursday’s delivery of four Russian helicopters and discussions with the Wagner group. agreement with Mauritania. Increased interest in Russia for the countries in sub-Saharan Africa, which raises questions.
In recent months, Russia’s interest has turned to sub-Saharan Africa. Igor Delanoe, deputy head of the Franco-Russian observatory in Moscow, believes that Russia’s actions in both Libya and Sudan show “that the Russians are trying to create a geographical corridor between North Africa with Libya or the Red Sea with Sudan, towards central Africa and the zone south of Sahara. ”
An interest that can be linked to natural resources “or simply to a real demand for security – which can be questionable or debatable – from local actors who are no longer necessarily happy with what Western countries are offering them, Americans and other actors.”
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Although there is a will to access this area, there is also a geopolitical issue with “the desire to make the Euro-Atlantic community feel – and here France is the first to be affected -” that this whole area is a way for the Russians to balance the balance of power in relation to Eastern Europe and the area that Russia considers to fall within its influence and its space post-Soviet space with primarily Ukraine, but not only, the Caucasus and why not tomorrow, Belarus. “
Similarities between the situation in Mali and CARA After its intervention in the Central African Republic, it is today in Mali that all eyes are focused. Discussions over the signing of a contract with the private paramilitary company Wagner are causing a great deal of controversy, and on Thursday, October 1, the Malian Minister of Defense, Colonel Sadio Camara, received four military helicopters, weapons and ammunition. the reliability and seriousness of this partner who has always given us satisfaction in win-win exchanges “.
Deputy Director of the Franco-Russian Observatory in Moscow draws parallels between the Central African and Malian situation and recalls that it is “the same model”. On the one hand, Igor Delanoe emphasizes, “you need a country where the internal political context is quite disturbed, with a power at a distance because it is facing a more or less serious popular protest, at least a loss of control over a number of territories. . “
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And on the other hand, he continues, “a country that has interesting natural resources that can be used to pay for the services of foreign security contractors.” “There is therefore a power that needs security guarantees, guarantees that cannot be offered by ‘traditional’ security actors. It could be France in this case for the countries in that zone.”
“Russia is following the same pattern, with a French tension on the one hand, a military operation that is ending or declining. We had the fall in the Central African Republic, we have the fall today in Mali. So we see a bit of the same scenario happening again. The conditions seem relatively mature to see Wagner potentially flourish in this country “, analyzes Igor Delanoe.
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