Russia aims to double trade with Africa in 5 years: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meets with President of Namibia Hage Geingob on the sidelines of the 2019 Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi on October 23, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 23 October 2019

Russia aims to double trade with Africa in 5 years: Putin

  • “In Africa there are very many potential partners with good prospects.”

SOCHI, Russia: President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Russia would aim to double trade with Africa over the next five years, at the opening of a summit aimed at reviving Moscow’s ties with the continent.
“We currently export to Africa $25 billion worth of food — which is more than we export in arms, at $15 billion. In the next four to five years I think we should be able to double this trade, at least,” he told African leaders at the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
“In Africa there are very many potential partners with good prospects.”

FASTFACTS

• Russia has written off more than $20 billion of African debt.

• Putin has promised cooperation without ‘political or other’ interference.

• Russia’s trade with Africa is less than half that of France with the continent, and 10 times less than that of China.

Putin said the current level of trade between Moscow and the continent was “not enough.”
“African countries are attracting ever more attention from Russian businesses,” the president added, highlighting a number of major Russian companies that were already working on the continent.
Dozens of African leaders are in Sochi for the first Russia-Africa Summit, as Moscow seeks greater influence on a continent where the West and China have a firm foothold.
The two-day event will see more than 3,000 delegates prepare deals and discuss topics from nuclear technology to mineral extraction.


Saudi defense contractor to invest up to $16 million to further localize services

Updated 18 November 2019

Saudi defense contractor to invest up to $16 million to further localize services

DUBAI: Saudi-based defense contractor Middle East Propulsion Company (MEPC) plans to invest between $13 million and $16 million over the next two years to build test cells for aircraft engines and establish new production lines.
These expansion activities should complement the company’s objective to localize high-tech repairs and combine them in one roof for the Saudi defense ministry, which is a major customer, CEO Abdullah Al-Omari told Arab News.
Instead of sending aircraft engines and engines modules overseas for further servicing, thus take up more time before military assets return to actual service, localization not only cuts the turn-around period but also reduces Saudi government spending for the repairs.
“We have accomplished more than 1,600 engine and engine modules [since 2001, they] have been maintained totally in Saudi Arabia,” Al-Omari said at the sidelines of the Dubai Airshow. “The engines consume 45 percent of what you spend on aircraft.”
The company works on 150 to 160 engines and engine modules every year.
MEPC is the first specialized MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) company operating in the Middle East, according to its website. It has invested over $26 million during the previous two years for the localization of its MRO services.
“We used to send these parts to outside, it takes 6 months to 24 months sometimes … in case of the Apache engines, minimum turn around is 24 months,” Al-Omari said, but their localization efforts have greatly improved their capability by cutting the turn-around period to only 150 days.
The speed at which MEPC is able to repair engines and modules, boosts the readiness of Saudi military, Al-Omari added.
The company is in talks with major defense contractors, including Honeywell for the Abrams talks and GE T700 engines, for possible tie-ups to further improve their capability, he said.
“Currently there is a potential with the Kuwait army to provide them with similar services [being delivered to the Saudi defense ministry],” Al-Omari said, and expects that cooperation would start “within the next two years or so.”