By Neelam Rahim
President Cyril Ramaphosa had a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. They discussed possible Russian agricultural products and fertiliser deliveries to Africa, including South Africa.
“The presidents expressed satisfaction with the current level of the two countries’ strategic partnership and stressed the shared intention to expand mutually beneficial cooperation, above all in trade, the economy, and investment,” a Kremlin press release said.
The call took place, according to Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, who told News24 Friday morning that the two presidents discussed trade and investment concerns. “Yes, the conversation took place in the context of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) conference, which is coming up soon.”
“The two leaders talked about commerce and investment between their countries,” Magwenya added.
According to a Kremlin press statement, the telephone talk between the two leaders centred on agricultural items and fertilisers for Africa after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine disrupted global markets.
“Food security issues, especially Russian agricultural products and fertiliser supply to the African continent, particularly to South Africa, were discussed in-depth,” according to the statement.
According to the Kremlin, the two presidents agreed to keep in touch. It also stated that the Presidents “exchanged opinions on the situation in Ukraine.”
On Thursday, the Russian News Agency stated that Russia was working on green energy with its Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) allies and BRICS countries.
This was according to Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Pankin, who was reported to have made the revelation at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Thursday.
“As far as international cooperation is concerned, the climate plan is relevant in the EAEU. This strong integration contains 180 million people and five integrated economies, with observers and partners.”
“It is developing in the same directions that are on the international agenda, from project cooperation, own energy to various areas of services, banking, insurance, investment with the prefix ‘green’,” he said.
The BRICS nations were actively debating this matter. Pankin said “a platform is being developed that will allow both future research and project work on renewable energy and hydrogen energy.”
Earlier this week, during a National Assembly debate on rising fuel prices, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe suggested that, despite mounting international sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, South Africa should look no further than Russia for cheap crude oil.
“Because Russia is not sanctioned, we should consider obtaining crude oil at a reduced cost from Russia.”
“We can purchase crude oil from Russia at a lesser price because there are no sanctions against crude oil,” Mantashe remarked. Mantashe suggested that the country consider alternative options such as gas and oil exploration.