Russia-Senegal Cooperation in Human Rights: Why Matters?

Russia Senegal Cooperation Human Rights
In Moscow, SpecialEurasia attended the meeting and the sign of the MoU between Russia and Senegal (Credits: SpecialEurasia)

Geopolitical Report ISSN 2785-2598 Volume 40 Issue 7
SpecialEurasia OSINT Team

The recent memorandum of understanding of human rights cooperation between Russia and Senegal has marked a significant milestone in their cooperation, highlighting Moscow’s growing interests in the African country.

The bilateral partnership between the two countries underscores Moscow’s strategy to enhance its position in Africa, aligning with its broader geopolitical goals of countering Western influence in the region.

On March 17th, 2024, Tatyana Moskalkova, the Commissioner for Human Rights in Russia, met with Papa Sambou Saliu, the Commissioner and Plenipotentiary Representative of the Ombudsman of Senegal, to sign a memorandum of understanding.

The goal of this agreement is to promote collaboration on educational projects and share effective methods for safeguarding social, cultural, political, and civil rights. Both parties expressed optimism about enhancing cooperation between Moscow and Dakar, which could lead to harmonising national legislation in human rights protection.

Geopolitics of Senegal and Russia’s Interests

Senegal, strategically positioned in West Africa with access to the Atlantic Ocean and borders with multiple neighbouring countries, holds a significant geopolitical standing. The country boasts a diverse economic landscape encompassing agriculture, fishing, mining, and services. Despite efforts to attract foreign investment and stimulate growth, persistent challenges such as poverty, unemployment, and income inequality persist, shaping Senegal’s socio-economic dynamics and contributing to its geopolitical outlook.

Within the regional context, Senegal plays a pivotal role in organisations like the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU), actively participating in regional peacekeeping initiatives and collaborating with neighbouring nations on security matters.

However, recent political developments have cast a shadow over Senegal’s stability and democratic processes. The country is currently facing one of its most severe political crises in decades because of the postponement of the presidential election, which was triggered by a dispute over the list of approved candidates.

President Macky Sall’s assurance of not extending his term has failed to quell unrest, with opposition groups and civil society members denouncing the delay as a “constitutional coup,” adding layers of complexity to Senegal’s regional dynamics and international relations. After weeks of tensions, the president announced that the country will hold elections on March 24th, 2024.

Russia’s interests in Senegal extend across various sectors, reflecting its multifaceted approach to engagement in the region. Dakar presents promising opportunities for Moscow, particularly in sectors such as energy, mining, agriculture, and infrastructure.

Senegal’s growing economy and strategic location make it an attractive destination for Russian investments. The focus of discussions between the two nations in recent years has been on ways to strengthen bilateral trade and economic cooperation. Both sides have expressed a strong desire to explore new opportunities for partnership.

The focus of Russia on Senegal’s economic development is in accordance with its broader plan to diversify its economic links and ensure entry to significant markets and resources outside its traditional areas of influence.

In addition to economic interests, military cooperation between Russia and Senegal has acquired momentum in recent years. The signing of a military cooperation agreement in 2018 marked a significant step in bolstering defence ties between the two nations. This agreement encompasses provisions for training Senegalese military personnel and supplying military equipment, reflecting Moscow’s desire to expand its military presence in the region.

The partnership in the military domain not only serves Russia’s strategic interests but also contributes to Senegal’s efforts to enhance its defence capabilities and address security challenges in the region. Moreover, the growing military cooperation between the two countries underscores the Kremlin’s intent to establish itself as a key security partner for African nations, further merging its influence on the continent.

Politically, Russia seeks to strengthen its presence in Senegal and the wider West African region as part of its broader geopolitical objectives. By forging diplomatic relations and engaging in various partnerships with Dakar, Moscow aims to increase its geopolitical leverage and counter the influence of Western powers in the region.

The deepening of political ties between Russia and Senegal is evident in high-level engagements, such as President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with his Senegalese counterparts in 2023, where he emphasised Senegal’s importance as a reliable partner in Africa.

Moreover, Russia’s diplomatic engagement with Senegal helps strengthen its global standing by showcasing its ability to cultivate alliances beyond its traditional areas.

Listen also | Ep.6 – Geopolitics and Democracy in Africa: A Conversation with Kaitlyn Rabe

Why Does It Matter?

The Russo-Senegalese cooperation in human rights reaffirms Moscow’s strategic interest in Senegal and its broader ambitions in Africa.

Interesting to note that while the country was dealing with the last day of presidential elections, which resulted in Vladimir Putin’s victory and confirmation as the nation’s leader, the Russian government achieved another goal in strengthening its relations with Africa, in this case with Senegal thanks to the Committee for Human Rights.

Recalling the words of Sergei Evgenievich Naryshkin, the Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation, highlighted in his article for the Journal “Razvedchik”, in 2024, Africa might become a potential battleground between the West and Russia. Therefore, Moscow has elaborated a strategy aimed at gaining ground on the continent to challenge the West and also China.

Moscow’s engagement in Senegal aims to counter Western influence and exploit new opportunities in international relations and business, especially amid Western sanctions. The deepening relations between Russia and Africa, including Senegal, serve the Kremlin’s agenda to diversify alliances and consolidate its global standing.

Moscow-Dakar’s collaboration poses both opportunities and risks for Russia’s geopolitical interests. While it allows Moscow to expand its influence on the continent and counter the Western presence, it also exposes Russia to potential competition and conflicts in the region. The growing economic and military ties between the two countries may trigger concerns among Western powers, leading to heightened geopolitical tensions.

For those with an interest in acquiring comprehensive insights into the socio-political system of Russia, we encourage you to reach out to SpecialEurasia by emailing We are ready to assist you in evaluating the possibility of acquiring a carefully crafted and customised report to meet your intelligence requirements.

Related Posts