Tree-planting quest: African leaders get in touch with exotic Russian flora (PHOTOS)

Tree-planting quest: African leaders get in touch with exotic Russian flora (PHOTOS) Russia’s African guests participating in a summit in Sochi are helping their hosts ‘save the forest’, as they get acquainted with boreal flora and take part in a Russia-wide tree-planting drive.

Tree-planting is a gesture of friendship in many cultures, and Russia is no exception. Ahead of the Russia-Africa summit, which kicked off on Tuesday in Sochi, top African officials visited a local nature reserve and got their hands dirty.

The country-wide sapling-planting drive, designed to help the Russian region hit by massive forest fires earlier this year, was launched on September 14 and is set to last until the end of October. The goal of the quest is to plant 30 million new trees – and it was reached by Russia’s African guests.

The 30-millionth tree (a fir tree) was planted by the president of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

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Acting President of Mauritius Barlen Vyapoory, Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo, and other high-ranking African officials also took up their spades and got shoveling.

While the goal of 30 million has already been achieved, the tree-planting quest will continue, Russia’s Ministry of Natural Resources said.

The two-day Russia-Africa summit, co-chaired by Russia and Egypt, has brought together countries from all across Africa. The majority of them are represented by top-level officials – presidents and heads of governments.

And it wasn’t all light-hearted gardening. Addressing the summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow is seeking to boost fair cooperation with all African nations. Trade between Russia and African countries is on the rise, growing by 17 percent in 2018 to $20 billion, and Moscow now seeks to double it within the next five years.

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