An influx of young Africans to come to Russia


At the last Russia-Africa summit, in addition to writing off debts in the amount of USD 20 billion, extensively discussed by public, other, no less significant, agreements were also reached.

The delegation of the Republic of the Congo proposed that Russia jointly build a gas pipeline of about 1000 km long; the Alrosa company, which is already working in Angola in the sphere of exploration and diamond mining, will receive 15 exploration licenses in Zimbabwe by the end of 2019 and considers areas of possible cooperation with the government of Mozambique. Lukoil signed a memorandum with Equatorial Guinea, under which the company plans to participate in the production of hydrocarbons in the country.

To implement all these projects, not only investments and advanced technologies of foreign partners are needed, but also competent African personnel, because the customary precondition for the work of foreign companies is engaging local people as specialists.

Higher education is becoming an equally important area of ​​cooperation between the black continent and Russia. With today’s shortage of skilled engineers in developing countries, sustainable economic development is virtually impossible.

We would like to continue to receive your support in the field of education. The knowledge that Mozambicans gained in difficult times in Russia still maintains our progress. This was the most important investment! Education is about giving a person a fishing rod for fishing, instead of just giving a fish that would end sooner or later.

Mozambique President Filipe Newsi

Presently, students from the former Portuguese colony come to study in Russia no less actively than during the Soviet era. The reason is a series of large discoveries of gas resources in the Rovuma River basin, off the coast of the Delgado region. The key gas potential of the country is concentrated in this place; the resources of the field are estimated at 2.2 trillion m3. There were found 3 mainland deposits with proven gas reserves of up to 95 billion m3 in the Mozambique River basin and one on the shelf with resources of up to 56 billion m3.

For Mozambique, the extractive industry is nowadays the most promising one. But we simply have no universities that would train specialists in the oil and gas sector. Besides, in general, foreign education is significantly better than what young people in the republic can get. Only about 10% of students successfully graduate from local universities. The level of knowledge that I received at school allowed me to apply for higher education in China, Russia or Malaysia. Given the discovery of deposits, I chose St. Petersburg Mining University without any doubts. As for the plans, such companies as Anadarko, Eni, Sasol and Rosneft work now in our country. In principle, after I return home, I am ready to join any of them, but since I know Russian well, Rosneft is a priority.

Student of Mining University Filipe Camundimo

Many Russian companies have been cooperating with African partners for a long while and are determined to further increase their presence on the continent. For example, Alrosa and Endiama are co-founders of the Gatok Katoka, the largest diamond mining company in Angola, which is developing the fourth largest deposit in the world, i.e., the Katok kimberlite pipe (Lunda Sul province). About 6.8 million carats of diamonds are mined and sold there annually. Mine reserves are estimated at 120 million carats.

During the civil war, your country helped Angola immensly, so we initially had a positive attitude towards Russia. All our presidents - and there were three of them - got higher education in Russia, and coming here to study is a sort of tradition, the observance of which leads to the achievement of great goals. The Russian degree is particularly appreciated by employers, as everyone knows what quality of knowledge is behind it. Endiama Angola, the national diamond company, has signed a contract with me; they pay for my education. I study in the area of “Information Technology”, because that undoubtedly simplifies the solution of problems in many areas, from mining to health.

Student of the Mining University Martins Gustavu Simau

Within the framework of the summit between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Angola, an agreement was signed on mutual recognition of education, qualifications and academic degrees, which will make much simpler the admission of Angolan students to Russian educational organizations, as well as the employment of holders of Russian degrees upon returning to their homeland.

More than 17,000 students from Africa are currently studying in Russia. Of these, nearly 2,000 people were enrolled only in 2019 at the annual quota provided by the government to foreign citizens for admission to budget-funded places at Russian universities. And it is planned to be increase this figure.

Given the fast pace of development of the mining industry in Tanzania, at the end of last October, St. Petersburg Mining University participated in the “Education in Russia” exhibition for the second time this year. It was organized by Rossotrudnichestvo in Dar es Salaam, the largest city in the country. Besides the presentations at the exhibition, members of the delegation spoke with high school students at several schools in the city, where they told young Africans about the university, areas of study, showed videos about the study and life of their students.

The most popular areas are mining, medicine and architecture. However, at present, the Government of the Russian Federation allocates about 20 places for the whole of Tanzania as part of the quota for national universities. Local school and university students hope that this figure will be at least doubled.

Ilya Mishin, Leading Engineer of the Center for Pre-University and Special Programs of Mining University; university representative in Tanzania

Most of the educational institutions in the country are private, which means that education there is only fee-based. The cost varies from 2.5 to 7.5 thousand dollars. By local standards, this is an unbearable amount, so student loans are quite common in the country. Dodoma University is one of the few state universities that “generates” personnel for the mining and oil and gas business. However, it is quite young (founded in 2007), and only bachelor’s degree programs are offered in these areas. So, students have to upgrade their skills on the basis of educational institutions in other countries.

“Luring” students, Chinese universities even offer grants that fully cover tuition and stay in their country, including meals, accommodation and travel. But of all the possible options, I chose Russia. Saint Petersburg Mining University invests in science: here students work in modern laboratories and research centers, professors are invited from leading universities of the world to teach their courses. For me, a student from a developing country, this is very important, because I will not only study the theoretical aspects of mining, but also get certain research experience, participate in the creation of new developments.

Mining University student from Tanzania Robert Magory

Mining operations in this country have long been engaged by private companies, primarily foreign ones. Currently, two oil fields are being developed there: Mnazi Bay in the Mnazi Bay and Songo Songo on the south coast of the country; in connection with that, branches of such large industrial companies as BP, Agip, Shell, AES were deployed there.

The scale of exploration continues to grow, as could be seen from the growth of foreign direct investment in the mining industry, the total volume of which reaches USD 460 million per year. Investors are still acquiring promising areas. Moreover, the government now intends to increase the state’s share in the industry. In order for our local companies to be competitive, it is necessary to train specialists in the world’s best specialized universities. We are also interested in enhancing the competence of mining engineers who already work in production, for example, through using short-term internships in St. Petersburg.

Director of the Human Resources Department of STAMICO State Mining Company Deusdit Magala

We are talking about the International Competence Centre for Mining Engineering Education under the auspices of UNESCO, the main platform of which is Mining University. One of the objectives of the center is to create a new training system that ensures the continuous development of engineers’ qualifications. As you know, UNESCO is concerned about the sustainable development of the mineral sector at the national and international levels, and support for Africa is highlighted as a global priority for the organization.

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