Russia’s Wagner group rebrand to ‘Africa Corps’ signals greater continental influence and intervention

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Reorganising Wagner as Africa Corps enables Russia to expand its Africa strategy through direct state means.

Russia’s Wagner group rebrand to ‘Africa Corps’ signals greater continental influence and intervention

Russia’s economic, diplomatic and military interests in Africa have been increasing in the past few years. And while Russia-Africaenable the country to wield diplomatic support, Moscow understands this charm offensive isn’t enough to compete with its big power rivals – the United States and China.Since 2017, Russia has used Wagner as a low-cost strategy to increase its foothold in Africa.

Meanwhile, Sahelian states that have experienced coups in the past few years have all shown great admiration for Moscow. Putin met and held talks with Burkina Faso’s interim leader Ibrahim Traoré during the July 2023 Russia-Africa summit. Russia’s Deputy Defence Minister Yunus-bek Yevkurov visited Libya in August and Niger in December, before travelling to Mali.

 

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