Kenya's Ruto seeks G7 support in global finance reform

Kenya President of the European Council Charles Michel (L) speaks with Kenyan President William Ruto at the G7 summit in Italy.  By Ludovic MARIN (AFP)
President of the European Council Charles Michel (L) speaks with Kenyan President William Ruto at the G7 summit in Italy. By Ludovic MARIN (AFP)

Kenyan President William Ruto on Friday urged the G7 summit to back a revamp of the global lending system to unlock increased support for debt-burdened developing countries.

African countries, facing mounting debt costs and a dearth of funds, have been demanding more equitable distribution of resources to better tackle poverty, cope with climate calamities and other challenges.

"Far too many countries are forced to choose between repaying creditors and investing in their economy and people," Ruto told the G7 summit talks in Puglia, southern Italy.

The leaders of the G7 wealthy nations gathered this week against the backdrop of global and political turmoil, with Africa, climate change and development kicking off the event.

Ruto said the G7 should "advocate strongly" for a rethink of the global financial system to give the so-called Global South "access to concessional, longterm and agile finance, and a greater voice and role in decision making."

The Kenyan leader urged that the vulnerability of countries should be taken into account in distributing financing.

"We find ourselves in the grip of relentless global challenges of unprecedented magnitude," he said.

The Horn of Africa is one of the regions most vulnerable to climate change and extreme weather events are occurring with increased frequency and intensity.

The region, only slowly emerging from a devastating drought that left millions hungry, alongside Southern Africa experienced deadly heavy rainfall and floods between March and May linked to the El Nino weather phenomenon.

"Only effective collective action by the international community can offer a reasonable chance of managing and overcoming these challenges," Ruto said.

He also called on the G7 to "embrace" African calls for reforms at the UN Security Council where the continent is pushing for a permanent seat.

Developing nations have long complained about not having a say on the council, where the five permanent members wield veto power, and argue the imbalance risks making the body obsolete.

But so far, repeated calls for reform have come to nothing, and experts doubt that the permanent five will give up their powers.

"No global institution can claim to champion humanity's universal values in 2024 while perpetuating the systematic marginalisation of 1.4 billion people from Africa's 54 nations," Ruto said.

The UK, China, France, Russia and the United States are permanent members of the council, and sit with 10 non-permanent members elected by the UN general assembly for two-year terms.

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Started: 02-07-2024 | Ends: 31-10-2024