Sanctioned Putin Ally Seeks to Lure $2.5 Billion to Africa

(Bloomberg) -- An agency led by a wealthy ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin is to advise three African countries on ways to raise more than $2.5 billion.

Konstantin Malofeev, a financier who’s under U.S. and European Union sanctions for backing pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, said the International Sovereign Development Agency will act as consultant to the governments of Niger, Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo to attract funding via sovereign debt.

Sanctioned Putin Ally Seeks to Lure $2.5 Billion to Africa

Malofeev, who has previously cultivated links to far-right parties in Europe, helped set up the development agency this year as the Kremlin turned its focus toward boosting ties with Africa. The agreements announced Thursday at the Russia-Africa summit hosted by Putin in Sochi are a “first step toward economic sovereignty and financial independence of our partner countries,” according to Malofeev.

Niger is seeking money to finance construction of a 1,300-kilometer (808-mile) oil pipeline, while Guinea and the DRC want to boost transport infrastructure including railways and roads, he said.

Malofeev insisted in an interview that the contracts with the three nations are purely economic and he isn’t seeking political influence with them. “I don’t link my political activities in Russia and my activities related to economic consulting in Africa,” he said.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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