MOSCOW: Russia is to provide South African nuclear power stations with uranium until at least 2017 in a key deal extending Moscow’s trade ties in the continent.
The contract, signed in the Kremlin on Thursday by President Dmitry Medvedev and visiting South African President Jacob Zuma, comes into effect next year.
Sergey Kiriyenko, chief of the Russian atomic agency Rosatom, told Russian news agencies that the deal would push Russia to control some 45 percent of South Africa’s uranium market.
Kiriyenko would not comment on the financial details of the agreement, but added that Russia would look into constructing nuclear power stations there. Russia exports its plant-building expertise to several countries including Iran.
Medvedev told a news conference after the talks that the agreements signed are "just a beginning” in developing the two country’s nascent ties.
Russia has long been anxious to expand ties with developing nations and Africa in particular, seeing the continent as an excellent investment opportunity and a source of sizable natural resources.
Russian and South African presidents are also expected to discuss the political situation in other African nations in their first official meeting.
The meeting comes a year after Medvedev embarked on a weeklong tour around Africa, overseeing the signing of an array of multimillion dollar deals in oil, gas and nuclear energy.