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Russia: ambitious plans to grow African numbers

The government of Russia plans to boost the number of African students studying in the country and supported by the Russian federation bursaries by at least 12% per year.

Russia plans to double the number of foreigners studying at Russian universities by 2024, and a corresponding increase in the number of African students is expected. Photo: Pexels

Between 2010 and 2018, the number of Africans studying in Russia's universities increased by 130%

The increase will be based on individual African country’s ‘weight’ in trade relations with Russia, and the number of fees-paying students arriving from a country.

According to Irina Abramova, director of the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia plans to double the number of foreigners studying at Russian universities by 2024, and a corresponding increase in the number of African students is expected.

“The number of African students studying in Russia may not only reach the level of the Cold War era, but surpass it”

Abramova is also one the people behind the upcoming high-level Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum in Sochi Russia, taking place October 23-24, hosted by the Roscongress Foundation.

The country, she told The PIE News, was determined to substantially raise the number of Africans enrolled in its universities, to enable it to reach the soviet-era numbers when thousands of Africans studied there each year.

“Should Russia and Africa conclude the appropriate agreements at the summit, the number of African students studying in Russia may not only reach the level of the Cold War era, but could also surpass it,” said a spokesperson for the Department for African and Arab Studies at RUDN University.

Citing figures by the Russian federal Statistical Yearbook she said that between 2010 and 2018, the number of African students studying in the country’s universities increased by 130% from 6,700 to 15,000.

At the same time, the country issued bursaries to 1,696 African enrolled in its universities in the 2017/2018 academic year, a number that will be boosted by the growth of at least 12% each year, she noted.

The learners were enrolled in 284 universities in the Russian Federation and located in 86 cities, she disclosed, adding that Nigeria, Ghana, Angola,  Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo lead in terms of the number of their citizens studying in the country in recent years.

Overall there has been a steady increase in the number of students from Africa, with 5,200 enrolling in Russian universities in 2018 alone compared to 1,400 in 2010.

“Moreover, there has been a twofold increase in the numbers of Africans who obtained higher education in the Russian Federation.

“In 2010, 1,000 people from Africa received a degree in the Russian Federation, while in 2018 some 2,000 African specialists graduated,” added Abramova.

Plans are also underway to spread the Russian language in Africa by opening more Russian Science and Culture Centres.

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