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15 June - A senior United Nations official today urged Russia to strengthen trade and investment ties with African countries and also appealed to the continent to seek opportunities for technology transfers from Russia.

“We want our friends, including from Russia, to come to Africa to do business to create wealth and jobs for the people,” said Kandeh Yumkella, the Director-General of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), in a video address to participants attending a conference on relations between Russia and Africa in Moscow.

“This is about a new business relationship and a new business model of partnership, a win-win situation with both sides benefiting,” Mr. Yumkella told delegates to the International Parliamentary Conference on Russia and Africa, organized by the lower house of the Russian Parliament, the State Duma, with support from the foreign ministry and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Mr. Yumkella said Africa was in need of partners ready to help the continent create wealth.

“I want to say to my African brothers and sisters who will be participating in the conference: Don't come to Russia asking for aid, come to Russia to ask Russia to do business with you. Aid alone cannot change any nation. It is determination, competitiveness and technology transfer that can bring the necessary changes,” he added.

Mr. Yumkella said many African doctors, engineers and other professionals had in the past benefited from training in Russia, adding that he was glad to see Moscow working to strengthen that partnership again after almost two decades.

He, however, cautioned that for business to come to Africa, countries in the continent needed “good governance, clear, transparent political systems, and good policies so that investments will be safe.”

Russian officials had showed the country's commitment to working with UNIDO on technology transfer and capacity-building projects, Mr. Yumkella said.

In May, UNIDO launched a project funded by Russia to help build the technical capacity of Sierra Leone's fishing sector and apply cost-effective seafood processing technologies.

Russia is also funding UNIDO environmental and technology promotion projects in the Eurasian Economic Community, including on improving water quality and reducing negative regional and trans-boundary impact from industrial activities within the middle and lower Volga River basin.