Russia will provide between 25,000 and 50,000 tons of grain to six African countries free of charge over the next four months, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in his opening speech before the Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg on Thursday.
Putin's announcement comes after the global market suffered after Moscow suspended the Black Sea Grain Agreement last week.
"In the coming months, we will be able to ensure free supplies of 25,000 to 50,000 tons of grain to Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Mali, Somalia, Central African Republic and Eritrea," the Russian leader said in a speech to launch the second Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum.
The Russian leader also said that Russia would cover the transportation costs.
In the first six months of the year, Russia exported 10 million tons of grain to Africa. In 2022, the figure was 11.5 million tons.
"We understand the importance of uninterrupted food supply for African countries. It is important for socio-economic development and for maintaining political stability" on the continent, Putin continued.
For these reasons, he said, Russia will continue to attach importance to the supply of grain products to its African allies.
Putin said it was a shame that the UN did not honor Russia's commitments to the Black Sea Grain Treaty, which led to Russia's withdrawal from the agreement. But assured those present that Moscow "can replace Ukrainian grain" in the form of free aid thanks to record harvests.
Azali Assoumani, President of Comoros and chairman of the African Union (AU), told Putin about the negative consequences of the war in Ukraine.
Assoumani thanked Putin for his assistance to African countries and warned that the world was on the brink of destruction.
The first Russia-Africa summit, held in 2019, was attended by 43 African leaders, but this year's summit saw a significant drop, with 17 participants.
Moscow has blamed Western interference on the turnout with Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying there had been an "absolutely blatant, obnoxious interference by the US, France, and other countries" to "put pressure on the leadership of these (African) countries in order to prevent their active participation in the forum."