African Leaders Speak Out in Paris

The “Summit for a New Global Financial Pact” in Paris, June 22-23, turned out to be more controversial than host Emmanuel Macron had expected. Among the attendees were many of the leaders of Western European, African and Latin American nations, as well as the heads of the IMF, World Bank, U.S. Treasury Department, the ECB and the European Commission (cf. SAS 26/23). The organizers were pushing for a global tax of at least $1 trillion per year to be used, they claimed, to combat “climate change”.

The African leaders would have none of it, several of them pointing out that at conferences like this, grand promises of money for developing Africa are often made, but nothing is delivered. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa pointed out, at the closing session, that if President Macron and the others are serious about reforming the financial architecture, they should support the building of the Inga Dam project on the Congo River, which would generate sufficient electricity for a good many of the 600 million Africans who currently have no access. Another project he proposed for the future is the building of a railway connecting South Africa with Cairo.

Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema warned that he would be a bit abusive to President Macron, and pointed out that “you cannot expect a poor person to carry an additional burden”. The resources mobilized “must be invested to help grow our economies”, he said. He added to the insult to the West by thanking China for the generous development funds it offered at only 1% interest.

Kenyan President William Ruto was also outspoken, in denouncing the international financial institutions that always control the resources mobilized: “at the IMF and World Bank you have the final say, we have no say. We want another organization of equals….”

Brazilian President Lula da Silva and Cyril Ramaphosa conferred on the sidelines about the peace initiatives for Ukraine that both of them are pursuing separately, as well as the agenda of the August BRICS summit in South Africa.

The new chairwoman of the BRICS New Development Bank, Dilma Rousseff, has also been campaigning actively to increase the role of her bank in financing development projects for the less developed countries and putting an end to the “dollar hegemony”, under which countries are forced to accept a “certain value system” in exchange for funding. They are told that if they don’t, they “will be punished accordingly, and face measures such as war, coups, or sanctions”.

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