Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke highly of Russia’s cooperation with South Africa within BRICS on Thursday, in the context of his meeting with South African President Zuma, which focussed on trade and investment, as well as security. Russia takes over the leadership of BRICS from Brazil next year.
Zuma has met Putin three times in the past year. Trade between the two nations grew 13% last year, and Russian investment in South Africa has now surpassed $1 billion per year.
Putin also promised to provide Russia’s assistance in creating a comprehensive nuclear energy industry in South Africa, which will help South Africa deal with its chronic energy shortages.
Russia is planning joint production with South Africa, of a light multi-role helicopter, according to Russian media reports. A maintenance center for Russian helicopters operating in Africa has begun operations in Johannesburg. Talks are are also reportedly ongoing on supplying Russian passenger jets to South Africa. The two countries have also discussed setting up an OPEC-style platinum cartel.
Other forms of collaboration is the earlier offer by Putin to service all the Russian helicopters in Africa at facilities in South Africa.
Zuma also requested Russian assistance for African peace and security missions in Africa as indicated by a statement from the South African Presidency: “The security situation of the African continent was also discussed and assistance sought on peaceful missions that South Africa is involved in, including request for support of the African Capacity to Respond to Immediate Crisis (ACIRIC) process.”