Iran and Africa opening new chapter in foreign relations
Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi's recent visit to three African countries of Kenya, Zimbabwe and Uganda, is considered a new chapter in the foreign relations of Iran and promises to create new opportunities.
The African continent, with an area of about 30 million square kilometers, consists about a fifth of the world's landmass and about 1.4 billion people.
Nearly half of the world's gold and a third of the world's minerals, 12% of the world's oil and 8% of natural gas reserves of the world are in Africa.
Fertile lands for agriculture, a large population of consumers, and an important geographical location are other parts of the wealth of this continent.
African people suffered for many years during the British and French colonial period and experienced difficult conditions. After independence, they are looking for independent partners who do not want to colonize these countries.
Therefore, the Islamic Republic of Iran is considered a progressive country with rich economic resources and a rich cultural heritage. About 50 countries out of 54 African countries are seeking to establish a new order as members of the Non-Aligned Movement, along with Iran, based on multilateralism.
At the same time, 30 African countries have more than 50% of the Muslim population, and this capacity is doubly important from the perspective of cultural cooperation.
The three countries of Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe have particular importance. Zimbabwe is one of the progressive countries and one of the active members of the non-alignment movement, which fought against the apartheid regime in South Africa for years and was one of the frontline countries in the fight against racial discrimination.
Kenya is one of the advanced countries in East Africa, it has access to the sea and the ocean, and in terms of sea transportation, it can be one of Iran's good partners and a link between our country and African countries.
This country is also interested in using Iran's transportation lines to reach Europe and Asia. Kenya will be a good market for Iranian goods and due to having water resources and fertile lands, it can be one of Iran's targets for extraterritorial cultivation.
Uganda is a progressive country and one of the pioneers of the non-alignment movement and the fight against unilateralism. This country, which is located next to Kenya and the Nile River originates from it, is developing, and its good market and rich resources can be an opportunity for Iran.
Fortunately, the private sector in Iran is familiar with Africa and these three countries, namely Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe, and the presence of a private delegation next to the government delegation can make this sector active in these three countries as well. The government, as a platform builder, should encourage the private sector to operate in these three countries by providing incentives such as discounts on transportation issues or granting credit for presence in Africa.
In general, the Islamic Republic, as a progressive and non-Allain country, can be a true friend and partner of the people of Africa, and it is hoped that good agreements will be reached during the president's visit to this continent to secure common interests.