Yumkella calls on Russian business to invest in Africa, commends UNIDO-Russia cooperation
MOSCOW, 15 June 2010 – UNIDO Director-General, Kandeh K. Yumkella, called on Russian business to invest in Africa, and said that UNIDO was working with the Russian Federation on a range of technology transfer and capacity building projects, including in Africa.
In a video address to participants of the International Parliamentary Conference “Russia — Africa”, that opened in Moscow today, Yumkella said: “I speak to you as the Director-General of UNIDO, but also as an African. I want to say to my African brothers and sisters who will be participating in the conference: Don’t come to Russia asking for aid, come to Russia to ask Russia to do business with you. Aid alone cannot change any nation. It is determination, competitiveness and technology transfer that can bring the necessary changes. That’s what your dialogue should be about with Russia.”
The Conference was organized by the State Duma (lower house of Russian parliament) with support from the Foreign Ministry and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Yumkella said Africa was in need of partners ready to help the continent create wealth. “We want our friends, including from Russia, to come to Africa to do business to create wealth and jobs for the people. This will benefit Russians as well. This is about a new business relationship and a new business model of partnership, a win-win situation with both sides benefiting,” he said.
“We have countless numbers of doctors, engineers, intellectuals that have benefitted from training in Russia. I am very pleased to see that Russia is stepping forward again after almost two decades of absence to strengthen partnerships with Africa.”
But Yumkella cautioned that for business to come to Africa the countries of the continent need “good governance, clear, transparent political systems, and good policies so that investments will be safe.”
The UNIDO Director-General said his recent meetings with Russian officials showed the country’s commitment to work with UNIDO on technology transfer and capacity building projects.
In May, UNIDO launched a project funded by Russia to help build the technical capacity of Sierra Leone’s fishing sector and apply cost-effective seafood processing technologies. Russia is also funding UNIDO environmental and technology promotion projects in the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC), including on improving water quality and reducing negative regional and transboundary impact from industrial activities within the middle and lower Volga River basin. It will help identify, evaluate and prioritise pollution “hot-spots” in the basins of trans-border reservoirs and transfer environmentally sound technologies.
Another project will help create a Centre for environmentally safe disposal of potentially hazardous consumer products and industrial wastes.
To listen to the full address by Director-General Yumkella, please go to:
For more information, please contact:
Mikhail Evstafyev, UNIDO press secretary