Dr. Yassir M. Alobaid
Sudan is considered with its geostrategic location in the heart of the African continent and in the middle of East Africa, close to the Horn of Africa, which has an important strategic location around the world and which distinguishes Sudan through its view of the Red Sea crossing, which is one of the most important water crossings around the world, which is directly linked to the Horn of Africa region, which is increasingly important Day after day for the global economy, where annually more than 4000 thousand ships or commercial, military and tourist ships pass through it, as well as increasing its importance with the presence of Sudan through the port of Port Sudan, where all this large volume of ships pass through it, especially oil ships, through which more than 26 percent of the world’s oil, which is confirmed by Sudan’s geostrategic position, which gave it an advantage through international and regional competition over it.
Especially since Sudan is a state of first-class resources, especially in the field of rare earth minerals, which almost ran out of most of the world’s countries and strategic minerals in addition to industrial minerals and most minerals that you need, which is needed by today’s technology, add to this the vast agricultural lands, which reach more than 200 million feddans The huge water resources, in addition to the livestock and livestock, which amount to more than 133 million opinions.
This site made Sudan an area of international competition between the various poles of the world. Russia has been interested in Sudan as a pivotal country in the African continent. Therefore, it was not surprising that the official visit of the Vice-President of the Transitional Council comes in the official visit to the Russian Federation, during which many important talks were held between the Sudanese and Russian sides, during which they exchanged views on all aspects related to strengthening Russian-Sudanese cooperation in various fields, in addition to discussing some international and regional problems and issues.
Attention was primarily focused on finding appropriate political and diplomatic solutions to Sudan’s various crises, especially the economic ones, as well as overcoming obstacles to the conduct of relations between the two countries and exchanging views on all issues that link the two brotherly peoples, with an emphasis on the need to respect the interests of the two countries. In this context, the two sides stressed the importance of the mediation adopted by the African Union to search for acceptable solutions to all the existing problems of the Horn of Africa, in which Sudan is known as a key player.
The Russian-Sudanese relations are known for their traditional and friendly character that extends over the years and decades, and at the beginning of this year, the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two parties was celebrated, and it is witnessing the establishment of a serious and regular political dialogue at the highest levels between the two countries. The talks dealt with prospects for developing relations Cooperation in the commercial and economic fields, including the development of works to exploit the mineral resources of Sudan during the past year 2020, with active Russian participation, as the volume of trade exchange between the two countries increased by $275 million compared to what it was in 2019 to reach $374 million, and during the first quarter of The current year 2021, and the volume of mutual business between them increased by 26.1% compared to the same period in 2020.
Currently, several Russian companies are working in economic investment and specialists in the geology of mineral deposits by conducting exploration research, as well as in the field of educational and academic cooperation, where several university and graduate students study. The two parties also discussed cooperation in combating terrorism and addressing the spread of illegal immigration and human trafficking.
On the other hand, the strengths of the Russian economy lie in a huge foreign reserve and mountains of gold. Russia’s foreign trade volume increased in 2021 to $789.4 billion, an increase of 37.9% over 2020.
Goods exports from Russia amounted to $493.3 billion, an increase of 45.7% year on year. Imports amounted to $296.1 billion, an annual increase of 26.5%.
On February 25, 2022, the Russian Central Reserve recorded $643.2 billion, which is a record, as it is equivalent to more than 17 months of Russian export earnings.
Russia exports about 5 million barrels per day of crude oil, and 2.5 million barrels per day of refined petroleum products, representing about 10% of global oil trade, or more than 700 million dollars per day of oil cash.
Russia also exports 23 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas exports (nearly 2 billion cubic feet per day passes through Ukraine) worth another $400 million.
Russia has been working hard to remove the dollar from the Russian economy. Looking back in 2013, Russia was receiving dollars for 95 percent of its exports to Brazil, India, South Africa, and China. Today, a decade after removing the dollar, only 10 percent of that trade is done in dollars.
Russia has largely replaced dollar trade with gold, with Russia accumulating mountains of gold worth $130 billion, or 20% of total reserves. That gave Sudan a lot of opportunities to build strong relations with Russia and this is why the visit of the Vice-President of the Transitional Sovereign Council, Lieutenant-General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, to the Russian capital, Moscow, came at a very significant time and in light of the current complications and global tension against the background of the Russian position on Ukraine, which caused great global confusion, although Sudan also maintains excellent relations with the State of Ukraine, and the cooperation between them has remained since its independence. About the Soviet Union in the fields of agriculture, technologies, aircraft maintenance, and education
The motives for the visit come within the framework of the bilateral relations between the two countries and that it will not affect Sudan’s relations with America despite the increasing Russian and Chinese influence in Sudan. Several Sudanese circles expressed their fears over the possibility of signing the Russian naval base agreement in the Red Sea, which contributes to complicate matters in the region. Russia adheres to its presence in Sudan to achieve security, military, and agricultural interests and to invest in mining.
Earlier, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister called that Moscow opposes “external interference in Sudan.”
Russia’s desperate defense of the transitional military component in Sudan within the UN Security Council shows the increasing importance of Russia’s alignment with Khartoum based on Moscow’s economic interests and geopolitical aspirations in sub-Saharan Africa. In light of the growing importance of the partnership between Moscow and Khartoum, Russia has made, through a series of efforts, military and economic cooperation in the field of mining and exploration for minerals in Sudan, and the establishment of a partnership with regional allies closest to the transitional government in Sudan. In the long term, Russia hopes to establish economic relations with Sudan to enhance cooperation between them.
And even though various geopolitical imperatives push Russia to support the military component of the transitional government since 2019, the year in which the glorious December revolution came.
The high-profile contracts that Russia signed with the Sudanese government and its plans to build a base on the Red Sea are of particular importance. There was an initial approval to keep the huge Russian contracts in the defense, mining, and energy sectors in Sudan, noting that these contracts have expanded greatly in recent years. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which makes Sudan second in the list of African countries that buy Russian weapons, after Algeria, and in this regard, it is noted that it bought 50 percent of its weapons from Russia in 2017. Some Russian companies obtained contracts with Mining concessions in the field of mineral exploration.
In addition to these contracts, Russia is looking to build a base on the Sudanese coast on the Red Sea to increase its influence in the Horn of Africa and expand its presence in the Bab al-Mandab strait. And that Moscow hopes that the convergence of its position with the regional position and the countries allied with Sudan in the region will contribute to strengthening its partnership with African countries, foremost of which is Sudan.
For Russia to be able to increase its influence in the region and enhance its interests in Sudan in the long term, it wants the Kremlin supporters in the Sudanese government to maintain mutual benefits and common interests. This matter has gained increasing importance since the advent of the glorious December revolution and the conclusion of the constitutional document agreement between the civilian and military components.
For Russia to maintain its current influence in Sudan, it is necessary to try to benefit from the vast resources in Sudan by making joint investments in infrastructure and all fields of modern technology.
On the other hand, the willingness of the transitional government in Sudan to maintain the previous contracts concluded with Moscow and to maintain close military and economic cooperation contributes to achieving the aspirations of the people of Sudan, especially since the Sudanese economy suffers from problems and structural creation in its economic structure that Russia can provide great assistance to. Russia, through its influence in Sudan and the Red Sea and through achieving mutual and common interests, it is likely that Russia will try to maintain its influence and position through its assistance to the Sudanese government economically as well as the military establishment in Sudan. Moreover, Russia’s ability to influence the current conditions in Sudan by inviting M companies to invest in Sudan. If these conditions remain unchanged, Russia will remain an important player in Sudan and on the African continent.