President William Ruto on Saturday, February 18, warned financial institutions marginalising Africa.
Ruto, while the 36th Session of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, accused the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of failing to avail climate financing mechanisms and funding multilateral development.
He argued that the financial marginalisation of legitimate African developmental interests constitutes a sinister plan to promote inequality and exploitation, deprive Africa of necessary tools to build resilience, and render the continent vulnerable to adverse impacts, including conflict.
"This is my simple and direct message to the World Bank, the IMF and the IFC: Africanise, or perish!
"For global development finance to be future-proof, it must align with the aspirations of the continent of the future, as an existential imperative. For this to happen, the multilateral development financing sector must attain a significant measure of Africanisation in all aspects," Ruto warned.
He also sought to reinforce his convictions and beliefs in the African continent's ability to lead the world's economy. The President asked his fellow heads of state and the international community to re-invent strategies towards developing Africa as a continent.
First, he urged them to capitalise on leadership transition underway at the World Bank, to contribute Africa's voice and initiate the overdue conversation about the need to re-imagine the international financial system.
He pinpointed that they should begin with the unavoidable reform of the Bank, to make it responsive, climate sensitive, and fit for purpose.
Ruto then asked them to prioritise the development of future-proof systems aligned with the aspirations of the continent of the future as an existential imperative.
African leaders, he added, also need to jumpstart the faltering trade deals that have demonstrated significant economic contributions in other parts of the world.
In particular, the President asked African Heads of State to consider enacting the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which he claimed as the biggest trade deal in the world.
African nations have yet to fully implement the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which was signed by 54 of 55 African countries.
"Part of the objectives of these reforms must be to embed accountability into the financial system in terms that compel actors to reckon with the actual cost of their environmentally harmful practices while recognizing loss and damage occasioned on others," Ruto noted.
Ruto wondered why trade among African nations still stands at about 15 per cent despite AfCFTA being ratified a few years back.
The President called on his African counterparts to ensure that African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) reaches its intended goal of 60 per cent of trade among African nations by 2034.
He also asked African nations to move towards AfCFTA's objectives by eliminating almost all unnecessary tariffs impeding trade as the world's attention was first shifting to Africa with immense interest in trade and economic development.