Inception of Ethio-Russian nuclear cooperation


History reminds us Russia is one of the friends-in-need of Ethiopia, .It is one the few states that stood by Ethiopians during the trying times in the late 70s when Ethiopia’s sovereignty was at stake. During the Derg regime, Russians were involved in almost every sector from education to defense. Even beyond, Russia, as an integral part of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, USSR, used to enjoy strong influence in Africa until the collapse of communism at the end of the 80’s. Last week’s event organized by Russia , Russia- Africa summit, is seen by analysts is the country’s ambition to get back its heavy presence in Africa as it had been in the 70s, but different approach.

BBC has quoted President Vladimir Putin as saying the strengthening of ties with African countries is one of Russia’s foreign policy priorities. We do not impose our views, respecting the principle of “African solutions to African problems” proposed by the Africans themselves.

Driven with this fresh outlook, Russia has shown the initiative to broaden its development partnership with African nations to a level it has been in the Soviet Era. Last week’s Africa–Russia Summit in Sochi, the first of its kind that gathered over 3,000 guests, including 44 Presidents and Prime Ministers of African nations was reported to be an occasion where Moscow offered business ties and security arrangements with no strings attached as an alternative to ‘colonial-style’ relations with the West. Media Reports suggest that Russia has a lot to offer to Africa particularly expertise in the extractive industries, energy sector and security .

The Ethiopian Delegation led by Primer Abiy has already inked a deal with the Russians in importing nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. The signed agreement for cooperation on peaceful use of nuclear energy will serve as a starting point for launching active bilateral dialogue in the nuclear sphere, and will enable the start of practical implementation of specific projects on which the countries cooperate.

The local media outlet, FBC reported that the agreement provided for cooperation in accounting for and control of nuclear materials, radioactive substances and waste, basic and applied research and training related to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, production of radioisotopes and their use in industries, medicine and agriculture.

It was reported that a joint coordination committee would be set up to facilitate the two countries’ nuclear cooperation. Ethiopia and Russia will particularly collaborate in nuclear research, expert exchange, the organization of seminars and conferences, and scientific information exchange. The agreement will also make it possible for the parties to consider the possibility of constructing a nuclear research center in Ethiopia.

The other local media outlet, ENA wrote on the Ethio-Russian nuclear accord saying Russia would provide support and technical expertise to Ethiopia for peaceful use of nuclear energy in health sector including cancer treatment and for power development. The news Agency also indicated that Premier Abiy was scheduled to confer with top executives of leading companies in Russia including Uralchem Fertilizer and Chemical Company and Gazprom Company engaged in exploring for hydrocarbons in Afar state and had requested for license to engage in gold exploration.

The Ethiopian Herald Sunday Edition 27 October 2019