During the last October Russia-Africa summit in Sochi, the Russian Government under the Presidency of Vladmir Putin announced Russia’s aim, “together with our African partners, to uphold common economic interests and protect them from unilateral sanctions, including by reducing the share of the dollar and switching to other currencies in mutual settlements.”
Ghana participated in the summit with the hope of attracting investments into Ghana and to serve as an opportunity to boost the country’s trade with Russian businesses. Last year, African nation’s trade with Russia stood at $20 billion as compared to $204 billion with China.
With the rising trend of internet penetration in Africa, one major outlet which would open doors for international growth in trade volumes between the two countries is the B2B-Export online market platform which attracts producers, traders and marketers from both markets to sell and buy online.
In a Workshop held in Accra at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel on Thursday 14th November 2019, Katya Dyachenko, CEO and Founder of B2B-Export, announced how her company is helping many African businesses to sell to and buy from the Russian market. The Company which started a bit longer than 5 years ago seeks to promote trade between Russian industries and emerging markets in Africa, Asia and Latin America. “From this year, we are offering opportunities for Africa to sell in Russia”, she said. According to Katya, Africa needs money and traditional customers which therefore provides an opportunity to trade with Africa.
Speaking to participants drawn from a cross-section of industries in Ghana, Katya mentioned categories of goods in demand in Russia which Ghana can export. They range from packaged products, raw materials for food processing, clothing and shoes, to interior décor for Hotels, Restaurants and Offices. A company interested in using the B2B-platform pays $190 per year which comes with wide range of offers where businesses can publish multiple products online.
Participants expressed diverse area of interests in doing business with Russia. Michael Clankson, a car dealer, was interested in knowing about Russian automobiles. He was interested in knowing the terms of purchase and importation of Lada cars from Russia. The CEO of Heigher Heights Logistics, Joyce Akusika Adu, was impressed about the presentation and expressed worries about the distance between Ghana and Russia. She emphasized that local partnerships would help boost local capacity to trade with Russian businesses. Since Russians aren’t well exposed to the African traditional culture, Joyce agrees with the main speaker that “we go for a blend” in designer clothes in order to penetrate the market.
Moreover, some participants were particularly interested in knowing which international payment systems are safe for transactions with Russian companies. It was emphasized that because some Western Banks do not allow opening of accounts for Russian companies due to international sanctions, participants were encouraged to use safe international payment systems of banks which are favourable to both parties.
Russia has huge production capacity to sell large quantity of products such as fertilizers, wood and wood products, steel and ferrous alloys, software developments, telecommunication, precious metals, medicine, data science, aviation, space satellites, etc to developing countries which Africa needs to take advantage.