The curtain came down on a highly productive Russia-Africa Parliamentary Speakers’ Conference which ran from the 18th to 21st March 2023 in Moscow, Russia, more specifically under the precincts of the State Duma.
Speaker of Parliament, Hon Advocate J.F.N Mudenda attended the Conference where he held a bilateral meeting with Hon. V.V. Volodin, Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, on the sidelines of the Conference.
Speaker Mudenda also had opportunity to discuss Parliamentary issues with several high ranking officials as well as other African Speakers of Parliament and various Heads of Delegations at the Conference.
The platform was an opportunity to strengthen Parliamentary diplomacy and share notes on best Parliamentary practices.
President of Russia, His Excellency Vladimir Putin was the guest of Honour on the final day where he addressed the Speakers of Parliament and Heads of Delegations from Africa. The Conference ran under the leitmotif ‘Russia-Africa in the multipolar world.’ The theme resonated well with the just ended facets of the 146th IPU Assembly held in Bahrain, Manama, which also touched on the importance of multilateralism over unipolarism, it will be noted.
President Putin highlighted the critical importance of strengthening Russia-Africa multilateral relationship which is premised on territorial and sovereign mutual respect. President Putin extolled the Speakers who attended the Conference and the coterie of various Heads of delegations who graced the occasion.
Furthermore, President Putin noted that the Speakers’ Conference was pivotal as it precedes the upcoming Russia-Africa Summit of Heads of State and Government which is scheduled to be hosted by Russia at St Peterburg in July 2023.
The Russian President reinforced the mutual cooperation between Russia and Africa as underpinned by the Russia-Africa Speakers’ Conference whose focus was the need to accelerate economic development of African States supported by Russia in the fields of Science and Technology, Energy development and improved agricultural productivity so that Africa attains sustainable food security.
Accordingly, this umbilical cord cannot be broken, posited Russian President. President Putin highlighted that in the spirit of increased economic cooperation with Africa, Russia had written off Africa’s debt in an effort to further cement the economic relationship with Africa.
Russia has capacity to undertake major development project such as the building of the Aswan Dam as well as enhancing nuclear energy development for accelerated industrialisation of Africa driven by consistent supply of electricity.
Earlier on, several Speakers presented papers on the theme of the Conference. Hon. Speaker Mudenda also delivered his speech which was well received by the Plenary. His presentation acknowledged the need for Russia to strengthen its political and economic relationship with African Parliaments and through them, their respective Governments in various areas of economic development.
This collaboration between the State Duma and the African Parliaments should be undergirded by equal partnership based on the sovereignty and legal equality of States where all Parliaments treat each other as equal legislatures as enshrined within Article 2 of the United Nations Charter.
“The sovereignty and legal equality of states implicitly predicates the sovereignty and the legal equality of our national Parliaments whose common barometer is their tripartite roles of citizen representation, the legislative role and oversight on the Executive,” Hon Speaker Mudenda observed.
The Honourable Speaker underpinned the call by H.E. Dr E.D. Mnangagwa and other African Heads State and Government who have made a clarion call for the reformation of the United Nations Security Council.
In that regard, Speaker Mudenda proposed that Africa should have a seat on the UN Security Council.
Honourable Mudenda’s call for restructuring of the United Nations Security Council was eloquently buttressed by Honourable Mapisa-Nqakula, Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa and the Chairman of the Namibian Council, Hon Lucas Muha.
On a separate note the conference also urged and hoped that the Mali and Burkina Faso transitional Councils would smoothly transform into fully fledged Parliaments. Russia committed itself to assisting these entities in their Parliamentary transformation agenda.
The Conference resolved that the Third Speakers’ Conference be held next year at a venue to be so decided.