In fall 2019 Russian President Putin welcomed African leaders to Sochi for the first-ever Russia-Africa Summit, celebrating Russia’s renewed economic and security presence on the continent and promising more. Russia is Africa’s largest weapons seller. Moscow signed military cooperation agreements with at least 20 African countries, and has significant oil, uranium, diamond, and other mining interests there.
Meanwhile the Wagner Group—a “private” security company funded by Putin crony Yevgeny Prigozhin and linked to Russia’s military intelligence service—is fighting the UN-backed government in Libya, challenging the UN peacekeeping operation in the Central African Republic, and recently engaged in combat in Mozambique (and perhaps Mali). Prigozhin has waged disinformation campaigns against the West and provided election “assistance” to Russia’s allies in Africa.
The Program in International Relations is a co-sponsor of the Conflict, Security & Development series at the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service along with the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU Law School, the Center for Global Affairs at NYU's School for Professional Studies, the Robert L. Bernstein Institute for Human Rights, and the Office of International Programs at NYU Wagner.