- Sputnik Africa, 1920
Second Russia–Africa Summit
The Second Summit Russia–Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum will take place in St. Petersburg from July 27-28.The First Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum was held in the Russian resort city of Sochi in October 2019.

Africa by Default Wants to Be Able to Engage in 'More Multipolar' World, Says Seychelles FM

© Sputnik . -Seychelles Foreign Minister Sylvestre Radegonde
Seychelles Foreign Minister Sylvestre Radegonde  - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 29.07.2023
On July 27 and 28, African leaders and senior officials, as well as representatives of business, NGOs, and academia, gathered in the Russian city of St. Petersburg for the second Russia–Africa Summit to discuss ways to strengthen humanitarian and economic cooperation between Russia and the African nations.
It's a "given" fact that the African continent "by definition" wants to be able to engage with the world on more equal terms and be part of a multipolar framework, Seychelles Foreign Minister Sylvestre Radegonde told Sputnik Africa in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the recent Russia-Africa Summit, which took place in St. Petersburg on July 27-28.

"I think it is a given. It is more and more emphasized, insisted on, that no entity, no power should have sway over the rest," said Radegonde, who repeatedly criticized unipolarity. "And Africa [...] in its partnership with the world by definition wants to have the ability to be more multipolar in its engagement with the world."

Seychelles: a Non-Aligned Sovereign Nation

Addressing the issue of sanctions, Radegonde highlighted the Seychelles' nonaligned status and its commitment to decisions based on the country's own freedom and independence.
It's worth noting that in March 2022, following the start of Russia's military operation in Ukraine and the West's pressure on nations around the world to join its sanctions campaign against Moscow, Seychelles President Wavel Ramkalawan said that Seychelles remains a non-aligned sovereign nation and will not follow the lead of individual countries in imposing sanctions on Russia.
"We have maintained our position. We are a nonaligned country. We have been since independence. We remain a nonaligned country. But nonalignment doesn't mean digging your head in the sand and blocking out everything else. Because we're nonaligned, we decide to make the decision based on the freedom that our independence provides us," Radegonde stressed.
Radegonde pointed out that each country can have its own view on global issues and should not necessarily be "always convinced" by the point of view of others.
Namibian Vice-President Nangolo Mbumba is greeted by Russian President Vladimir Putin during the official welcome ceremony for heads of delegations of countries taking part in the 2nd Russia-Africa Summit and Economic and Humanitarian Forum at the ExpoForum Congress and Exhibition Center in St. Petersburg, Russia, on July 27, 2023. - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 29.07.2023
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The African diplomat raised concerns about the effectiveness and impact of sanctions, citing the example of Cuba, where long-standing sanctions have primarily burdened the local population without yielding significant results.
"When we look at Cuba, the sanctions imposed on Cuba for many years, what did it achieve really, apart from, you know, more hardship on the local population, the normal people?" Radegonde asked. "So as far as Western sanctions or [...] anybody's sanction, we decide what we do."
The minister reiterated that Seychelles abides by international laws and regulations while retaining the sovereignty to make its own decisions.

The Secret Behind Seychelles' Economic Success

The interview also touched upon the Seychelles' impressive economic success, with the nation boasting the highest GDP per capita on the African continent despite its modest size. The country consists of 115 small islands off the African coasts of the Indian Ocean with a population of about 100,000.
Seychelles' flagbearer Dylan Silobo leads the delegation during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast on April 4, 2018. - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 29.06.2023
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Minister Radegonde attributed this achievement to a combination of factors. He emphasized the stability enjoyed by the country, supported by visionary leadership and active citizen participation in national decision-making processes.

"They [citizens] participate, they give their views and then we have a government that forges ahead and implements it," he said. "But also, I would say one of the things is also that over the years, Seychelles has been assisted in its development efforts. And we are known to have made judicious use of all the assistance, aid that we have received."