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Russia and China Are Motivated by Totally Different Incentives in Africa

Russia is stepping up its engagement in Africa with a new focus on trade. Although Russia does considerably less trade with Africa than China, less than a tenth the volume, in fact, it nonetheless remains an important actor on the continent. Although Russia and China are often put together as representatives of Africa’s new trading partners, breaking the hold that the U.S. and European countries long had, they are different in one fundamental way.

Charles Robertson, Global Chief Economist at Renaissance Capital, explained that while China needs to buy Africa’s resources, Russia does not. The Russians have sufficient supplies of oil, gas, and timber while lacking China’s industrial capacity that depends on raw materials to build the phones, cars and countless other products we all buy from the Chinese.

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