Kenyan President William Ruto has condemned what he calls an “unfair” framework in the management of the global financial system, claiming that the global West continues to disenfranchise Africans by enforcing harsh debt repayment practices that are nearly impossible to handle.
In a speech to delegates at the ongoing Africa Climate Summit at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi on Tuesday, Ruto waded into the often-muddled terrain of foreign debt to African nations, saying that a discussion about the punitive policies of the West and its institutions towards Africa “is not an unfair” debate.
The Kenyan president also elaborated on the importance of global cooperation as it pertains to climate change and human development.
President Ruto, during his address, exuded dissatisfaction with loan programs in Africa, interrupting his planned address for a few minutes to elaborate on how the West’s harsh loan programs have harmed Africa.
“9 countries are already in debt stress, 13 countries are classified as high risk, and another 17 countries are classified as moderate risk, and the biggest contributor to debt distress in our continent is high-interest rate, we pay 5 times more than others,” the Kenyan president elaborated.
“Meaning that in fact, the architecture is set up in a manner that if you borrow, it will be difficult for you to pay, and that is why we need a very candid conversation, and we’re saying this in all honesty, about how to get concessional funding and how we pay what others are paying, and I ask in this gathering. A fair international financial architecture is not too much too ask,” he added.
The president also spoke on how climate change is compounding an already dire debt situation in Africa, and how the world must share a hive mind in addressing said concerns.
“We are all connected to our common humanity and our shared stake in the vitality of the livability of our planet,” he said.
“The implication of this knowledge is that we cannot approach climate action and human development from a disconnected or adversarial standpoint,” he added.