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Russia Signs $1.7 Billion in Defense Contracts With 17 African Nations

A significant player in the African defense market during the Soviet era, Moscow has been making inroads into the continent’s defense market since 2000.

Russia’s state defense manufacturer, Rosoboronexport, has signed contracts worth $1.7 billion with 17 Sub-Saharan African countries for the supply of a range of defense equipment, TASS reported.

The deals were signed in 2020 and early this year between Rosoboronexport and countries in Central, Western and Southern Africa, the Russian state news agency stated.

“Rosoboronexport is successfully continuing to foster military-technical cooperation with Sub-Saharan African countries, which received a strong impetus during the Russia-Africa Forum in 2019,” stated Alexander Mikheev, Director General of Rosoboronexport.

Russia’s Defense Export to Africa

Last year, Rosoboronexport signed a contract with an unknown Sub-Saharan country to supply assault boats, marking the first export of Russian-naval equipment to a country of the region in two decades, Deutsche Welle wrote.

A significant player in the African defense market during the Soviet era, Moscow has been making inroads into the continent’s defense market since 2000.

By 2020, the share of Africa’s defense imports coming from Russia rose 49 percent, making it the continent’s largest defense exporter.

Upcoming Defense Exhibition in Ivory Coast

Meanwhile, Rosoboronexport will showcase its weapons systems at the Shield Africa 2021 International Security and Defense Exhibition in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, from June 8 to 10.

“Among Russian products that the company’s specialists will display are the BTR-80, 80-A and 82-A armored personnel carriers, Kalashnikov AK-100 and AK-200 series, AK-12 and AK-15 assault rifles that are most in-demand in the region, and the AK-19 and AK-308 rifles, absolute novelties in Africa,” Mikheev revealed.

“In addition, partners will be provided with information about Russian anti-tank guided missile systems, including the Kornet-E and KORNET-EM systems, 120 and 82 mm mortars.” 

Moreover, Russian armored vehicle manufacturer Military Industrial Company will showcase its “VPK-233316 Tigr special armored vehicle in the Raid configuration, VPK-39473 Strela light armored and VPK-Ural multi-purpose armored vehicles” at the exhibition.

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