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Russia, Senegal Plan to Create Commission on Economic Cooperation, Ambassador Reveals

© AP Photo / Leo CorreaSenegalese flag
Senegalese flag - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 02.06.2024
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - In late April, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that her country is confident that under the new Senegalese President Bassirou Diomaye Faye, relations between Moscow and Dakar will reach a new level.
Russia and Senegal plan to create a commission on economic cooperation, which can help increase the bilateral trade, Russian Ambassador to Senegal Dmitry Kurakov told Sputnik.
"We are counting on the creation of a joint commission on economic cooperation. Now everything depends on the Senegalese side," Kurakov said.
The ambassador expressed his belief that if the two countries manage to conclude the agreement on the economic cooperation, then the trade turnover will increase significantly.
Furthermore, Russia counts on the launch of charter flights with the African country, Kurakov said.

"The problem for our tourists is the lack of direct flights and rather expensive tickets. [...] We expect that eventually at least charters will be able to fly here, because we have already had such an experience with the Gambia. Before COVID-19, charters flew there, this destination was popular. I think that such opportunities exist, but we are hardly talking about regular flights," he said.

Continuing the aviation topic, the ambassador revealed that Senegal is interested in buying Russian helicopters, and Russia is training personnel for their maintenance.
"At the moment, Senegal uses several Russian-made helicopters. The Senegalese peacekeeping forces are interested in our products, we are talking about helicopters. We are training personnel who would maintain these helicopters," Kurakov said.
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Wrapping up the interview, the diplomat noted that Russian companies are interested in building ports in Senegal, but there are no specific projects in this area yet.

"Russian companies have an interest in the construction of port infrastructure in Senegal, but our specific projects do not yet exist. Yes, they come up with proposals to the Senegalese authorities, but so far they have not concluded any additional contracts. Perhaps, when the extraction of some minerals begins, such an opportunity will be in demand," Kurakov reckoned.

He added that now "the largest 'blockade' port [in West Africa] is being built in Senegal, but by Emirati companies: with their financing, which exceeds $1 billion."
"For the Senegalese, it is important that investors come with their own financing. Today, most large investment and infrastructure projects operate on the principle of public-private partnership. That is, the company comes with its own financing, implements the project, receives income from this project, through which it compensates for its expenses. This is how they work at the moment and are waiting for the same initiatives," the diplomat concluded.