Arms exporter Rosoboronexport says it is striving to remain a reliable security partner for the continent Aleksandr Mikheyev © Sputnik / Grigory Sysoev
African countries have bought more than 30% of the weapons systems exported by Russia so far this year, TASS reported on Monday, citing Alexander Mikheyev, CEO of Russia’s main arms exporter, Rosoboronexport.
According to Mikheyev, the company currently cooperates with 80% of African countries, while contracts on the continent are expected to exceed $5.2 billion by the end of 2023.
The Rosoboronexport chief’s statement comes on the heels of the third International Exhibition for Defense and Military Industries (EDEX 2023), which is taking place in Egypt from Monday to Thursday. More than 400 companies from 46 countries are taking part in the event, which is being hosted by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi at the Cairo International Exhibition Centre.
The Russian defense industry’s latest models of aviation and armored vehicles, missile and artillery systems, naval-use products, multi-purpose and combat unmanned aircraft, anti-aircraft and electronic warfare weapons, small arms and ammunition are being presented at the event.
“EDEX is the largest defense exhibition on the African continent,” Mikheyev claimed, adding that Rosoboronexport intends to use its participation to establish cooperation in the areas outlined during the recent Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg.
“Today, Rosoboronexport is doing its best to remain a reliable partner, being aware of the challenges and threats in the security area facing African countries,” Mikheyev said.
He explained that while Moscow is currently cooperating with African countries on cybersecurity and space programs, as well as counter-terrorism facilities, talks are continuing on the implementation of already signed contracts and memorandums of understanding.
Earlier this year, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reported that Russia had overtaken China as the leading arms seller in sub-Saharan Africa, with its market share having risen to 26% as of 2022.
According to the report, Algeria, Angola, Egypt, and Sudan were the top importers of Russian weapons on the continent. Moscow has also increased its arms exports to Mali, which has been plagued by jihadist insurgencies for more than a decade. (RT)