Putin hosts Russia-Africa Summit in effort to boost trade with continent
Moscow - Russian President Vladimir Putin began a summit with African leaders on Wednesday in the Russian resort city of Sochi as his country looks to double trade with the continent in five years.
"I believe that it is fully within our power to double the volume of trade in the next four or five years as a minimum," Putin said in a speech at the plenary session of the Russia-Africa Summit.
Putin said trade had already more than doubled over the past five years to more than 20 billion dollars - an amount he considered "too small."
About a third of that amount - 7 billion dollars - is from trade with Egypt, according to Putin's comments earlier in the day during a meeting with Egyptian President President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi.
Al-Sissi currently holds the rotating chairmanship of the African Union, a pan-continental organization designed to strengthen ties between Africa's countries.
The Kremlin expected the majority of Africa's leaders to attend the two-day summit. "Heads of state and government of 43 African countries will attend," Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov said earlier this week.
The United Nations recognizes 54 countries in Africa. The African Union recognizes 55.dpa