African delegates just can’t keep their hands off Russia’s unique firearms
This week all 54 African states sent a representative to the 1st Russia-Africa Summit where there were 43 heads of state in attendance, including President Uhuru Kenyatta.
For decades, the most visible link between Russia and the African continent was the Kalashnikov – the Soviet-designed AK-47 rifle.
On the sidelines of what was happening in the meetings, one thing had the world talking, the military hardware.
Russia, which is the second largest supplier of arms in the world, is already a major supplier of arms to African countries.
At the exposition hall, the displays of military hardware, ranging from model tanks to rocket launchers to automatic rifles seduced a large number of African delegates.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, who has just recently received the Nobel Peace Prize, was seen eyeing model tanks, while members of the Nigerian defense delegation took their time at the Kalashnikov stand, posing for selfies holding the famed firearm’s manufacturer’s latest automatic rifles.
Adjacent to a stand advertising the benefits of investing in Democratic Republic of Congo, delegates took turns at a virtual reality shooting range, picking out drones set in a virtual environment advertised as “the ambience in the African savannah.”
Outside the venue, full scale helicopters, fighter jets, and armored vehicles were available to peruse as Russian soldiers patrolled the grounds of the exhibition park.