Ramaphosa, Putin want to strengthen SA-Russia ties

Trade between Russia and South Africa must increase. That's the agreement between President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Russian counterpart President Vladimir Putin. Courtesy #DStv403

SOCHI, Russia - President Cyril Ramaphosa wants the trade between Russia and South Africa to increase.

Russia is currently hosting several African statesmen at an inaugural summit that kicked off on Wednesday in Sochi, Russia.

Ramaphosa and his Russian counterpart President Vladimir Putin wants to double the trade between the two countries.

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“Africa free trade area presents an opportunity for African countries to participate with Russia in a meaningful way and this for us is very important. We as South Africa remain committed to the strategic relationship with the Russian Federation,” Ramaphosa said.

The leaders called attention to a partnership between their countries going back decades.

Trade between Russia and South Africa amounts to one billion US dollars a year, and the presidents say there is plenty of room for growth.

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South Africa is one of Russia's closest partners on the continent, but it's far from its biggest economic ally.

With representation from every African country at the forum, Russia is making a public declaration of its intention to engage with the entire continent.

Russia sent two war planes to South Africa just hours after the meeting.