At the recent two-day Summit for a New Global Financing Pact, convened by France and hosted by President Emmanuel Macron, Kenyan President William Ruto made a “compelling case for a new global financial architecture,” according to Today News Africa.
Numerous world leaders were in attendance at the summit, including Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados; Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of Germany; Filipe Nyusi, President of Mozambique; Luis Inacio Lula Da Silva, President of Brazil, and many others.
Numerous representatives of international organizations, philanthropists and activists were also present including Ajay Banga, President of the World Bank; Kristalina Georgieva, International Monetary Fund Managing Director; Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations; Ursula Von der Leyen, President of the European Commission; Vanessa Nakate, an activist and UN Goodwill Ambassador, and Melinda French Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The U.S. and UK decided not to attend.
During his remarks, Ruto stressed that the Global South was not looking for handouts but wanted the establishment of a new entity where resources weren’t controlled solely by the IMF and the World Bank.
“We need a financial transaction tax at a global level where even countries like Kenya pay. We do not want anything for free. You (France) will pay more eventually because you have a bigger economy. We will pay commensurate to our economy, and we want those resources controlled, not by IMF and World Bank because (the) IMF and World Bank you have the final say. We don’t have no say,” Ruto said.
“We want another organization of equals where you have as much say because you pay as much as we do because we also pay. That’s the organization we are looking for and that is why we are saying we need a new financial architecture where governance, where power is not in the hands of a few people.”
The 55-year-old Ruto was sworn in as Kenya’s fifth president in September of last year. After narrowly winning the Aug. 9 election in East Africa’s “most stable democracy,” he quickly signaled that his leadership will be a faith-based one. The former deputy to outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta, who supported opposition candidate Raila Odinga, resolved their “bitter split,” shaking hands as a cheering audience looked on as Kenyatta handed over the instruments of power, The Associate Press reported.
In Ruto’s first tweet as president, the evangelical Christian quoted the Book of Psalms from the Bible: “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” In his inaugural address he praised both the church and Islamic leadership, and vowed that “we will enhance our partnership, build on our collaboration and enhance our support to them.”
But the new president’s greatest yet to be seen feat may be in Hebrews 11:1 which states: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Ruto doubled down at the summit stating, “The current financial architecture is unfair, punitive and inequitable.” He added, “The countries of the (Global) South pay up to eight times more interest than developed countries because they are considered risky.” Ruto wants to attract private investment rather than development aid.
Africans are tired of the narrative that portrays them as victims of climate change, looking for favors and lamenting, he explained. “We are not asking for help; we want to be part of the solution.”
The Kenyan president has also urged a shift away from the U.S. dollar in intra-continental trade.
President Ruto emphasized that the African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank) has provided a mechanism that enables traders within the continent to engage in trade using their respective local currencies, reported Today’s News Africa. “Afreximbank facilitates the settlement of payments in local currency, making it possible for traders to conduct transactions in a more seamless manner. The President expressed Kenya’s support for the Pan-African payment and settlement system, which is administered by Afreximbank,” the news site reported.
Ruto gave an example: “Why it is necessary to purchase goods from Djibouti and pay for them in U.S. dollars? He stressed that there is no valid reason for this practice. The president clarified his position and stated that the intention is not to oppose the U.S. dollar, but rather to promote more unrestricted trade. He suggested that purchases made from the United States can still be settled in U.S. dollars, while transactions with Djibouti can be conducted using local currencies.
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