Kenyan President William Ruto made a compelling case for a new global financial architecture during his remarks at the New Global Financial Pact Summit in France on Friday, June 23.
In attendance were world leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, who organized the summit, and representatives from international financial and economic institutions.
President Ruto emphasized that his country was not seeking to continue the current setup of taxes. He called for a financial transaction tax at a global level, where countries like Kenya would also contribute their share.
Ruto stressed that Kenya was willing to pay based on its economy’s size and wanted an organization where resources were not solely controlled by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. He emphasized the need for an organization of equals, where all nations had a say commensurate with their contributions.
The Kenyan President outlined the importance of a new financial architecture prioritizing governance and power-sharing among nations. He argued that this would ensure access to resources for critical areas such as renewable energy, decarbonization, smart agriculture, and the restoration of biodiversity.
Ruto emphasized that a shift from the status quo was necessary and urged French President Emmanuel Macron to embrace this change, stating that continuing with the “normal” approach would only lead to stagnation or regression.
President Ruto’s sentiments reverberated throughout the venue, packed with European leaders, financial experts, and economists. Among the attendees were IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, newly appointed World Bank President Ajay Banga, and President Joe Biden’s representative.
The New Global Financial Pack Summit, organized by President Macron, aimed to address acute short-term financial distress faced by countries, particularly the most indebted, and promote innovative financial solutions in the face of climate change. The event attracted world leaders, financial experts, economists, and representatives from international institutions who sought to foster inclusive growth by enabling broader access to finance and investment.
In a separate address at the summit, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa echoed President Ruto’s call for equal treatment. Ramaphosa emphasized that Africa should not be seen as a continent needing generosity but as an equal partner in global affairs. He highlighted the negative impact of the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict on the African continent and urged the reopening of the Black Sea Channel to stabilize the global market for grains and fertilizers.
President Ramaphosa also raised concerns about unfulfilled promises, explicitly mentioning a $100 billion fund pledged during prior talks. He commended Germany and the United States for their efforts but expressed disappointment over the perceived betrayal felt by African countries during the COVID-19 pandemic when vaccines were hoarded by Northern Hemisphere nations, leaving Africa marginalized. Ramaphosa called for action and urged the international community to prioritize lives over profits, particularly about Africa’s vaccine manufacturing initiative.
As the two-day summit came to a close, the remarks delivered by President Ruto and President Ramaphosa seem to have left a lasting impression on the attendees, emphasizing the urgent need for a new global financial architecture and equitable treatment of all nations. The calls for change and action are expected to shape future discussions on global financial stability and inclusive growth.