Shortly before the summit got officially inaugurated by its co-chairs — Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah Sisi — Russian Minister of Environment, Dmitry Kobylkin, invited the African leaders to leave a footmark on the Russian soil by planting trees, each in the name of their country.
"The most enduring types of trees have been selected for the planting — the everlasting blue spruce and Nordmann fir", the chief plant scientist of the park, Alexey Plotnikov, stated.
The attendees appeared to be inspired by the symbolism of the ritual.
"You know, we, human beings, have got to live close to nature, and trees symbolize life, growth, productivity. We have to be inspired by nature, by trees", Acting President of Mauritius Paramasivum P. Vyapoory told journalists, adding that his country recognized the importance of growing trees.
"This is what we teach in our schools, and this is also, as a leader in my country, [what] I encourage everyone [to do] and I myself partake in the activities of planting trees", Vyapoory said.
The Russia-Africa summit and economic forum kicked off on 23 October in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. The leaders of all the 54 African nations have been invited to the event, with more than 40 of them having already confirmed their attendance.
The Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency is an official media partner of the two-day forum.