Our relations with countries of Africa and Middle East
The broadening of cooperation with 66 dynamically developing countries of Africa and Middle East and 11 international regional organizations is gaining in importance for strengthening so called “Far Arc of partnership” as an element of the balanced foreign policy of the Republic of Belarus.
Belarus has established diplomatic relations with 48 of the 54 countries of the African continent and all States of the Middle East (including diplomatic relations with the Republic of Niger and the Central African Republic established in 2012 and with the Republic of South Sudan and the Republic of Djibouti – in 2013).
Already in 8 countries — the traditional and most promising partners (Egypt, Israel, Qatar, Nigeria, UAE, Syria, South Africa, Ethiopia) — Belarus has successfully working diplomatic missions. As a result of constant work to strengthen its diplomatic presence in Africa the Republic of Belarus has opened new embassies in Nigeria and Ethiopia in 2011 and 2013. In 2014 the Belarusian Embassy in the State of Qatar began its operation.
At the same time, Belarusian ambassadors are accredited as non-residents in several countries, ie, having a residence in one state they perform their functions in several states. Totally ambassadors of the Republic of Belarus are accredited (or will be accredited in the nearest future) in 28 countries of the region of Africa and the Middle East.
The installation of Honorary Consuls is now high on the agenda. The Honorary Consuls advocate the interests of Belarus in the region: in Ghana, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Sudan.
In turn, 7 countries of Africa and the Middle East are represented in Belarus at the ambassadorial level and 4 countries — at the level of honorary consuls. A number of ambassadors (heads of 37 diplomatic missions of African and Middle Eastern countries with residence in Moscow, as well as in Berlin) are accredited in the Republic of Belarus as non-residents.
The coincidence of positions on most current issues of the international agenda, similar approaches to address the socio-economic development contribute to increased cooperation between Belarus and the Middle East and African countries in all fields.
Belarus traditionally maintains the relations of friendship and mutual support with African and the Middle East states in a variety of universal international organizations, primarily the UN and the Non-Aligned Movement and holds observer status in the largest regional organizations — the African Union and the Arab League.
Cooperation with priority partners in the Middle East and Africa — Egypt, Israel, Syria, South Africa, UAE, Gulf states — maintains its positive trend. Regular exchange of visits at the highest level has a positive impact on the development of bilateral cooperation with the countries of this region.
The “economic diplomacy” retains of particular importance for the Republic of Belarus, with its export-oriented economy.
A key area of cooperation between the Republic of Belarus with the countries of Africa in trade and economic sphere is to expand exports of goods and services. A systematic work is conducted to enter new markets in the African continent.
At the same time the most promising area of cooperation with the Gulf countries and Israel is the development of investment cooperation. Joint investment projects in the field of creation of new industries, construction, agriculture, hotels, trade, etc. are worked out and implementing.
In 2014 in a number of key economic partners of Belarus in Africa and the Middle East remained a very difficult political and economic situation, which complicated our trade with the region. Nevertheless, coordination of the activities of government agencies and organizations by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs contributed to the fact that by the end of 2014 the Republic of Belarus exports to Africa and Middle East grew by 31.5 percent and reached 521,9 million U.S. dollars. Positive trade balance for Belarus in this region amounted to more than 127 million dollars.
Joint projects in trade, economic, scientific, technical, investment and other areas are successfully working. Several countries have already established joint ventures to produce modern automobiles and tractors basing on Belarusian technologies.
Belarusian enterprises and organizations actively participate in international exhibitions and fairs held in Africa and the Middle East. In addition, with the assistance of Belarussian Ministry of international affairs a number of Belarusian exporters, primarily Minsk Automobile Plant and Minsk Tractor Works, each year open their representative offices in African and the Middle East countries. Fruitful work on the creation of permanent exhibitions of Belarusian products and Belarusian trading houses in the most promising in terms of Belarusian export countries in the region is permanently maintained.
In the Belarusian universities hundreds of future graduates from Africa and the Middle East, especially Nigeria, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, etc. are trained annually.
Read more about our relations with the countries in Asia and Africa at our Embassies and Consulates websites.