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Ruto pledges to give Sh13 billion to lenders, insists on AU reforms

National
President William Ruto officially open the 60th edition of Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank Group at KICC. William said it's time for Africa to have her own Africa Court of Justice. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenya has committed Sh13 billion (USD 100 million) to replenish its shareholding in three continental multilateral lenders even as President William Ruto called for reforms of global financial architecture to address destabilising debt and climate vulnerabilities in Africa. 

Speaking during the African Development Bank(AfDB) 59th annual general meeting in Nairobi on Wednesday, President Ruto further called for reforms in the constitution and mandate of the African Union (AU).

The president said there is need to address the current situation because countries in the continent are struggling with high financing interest rates while also dealing with climate shocks and constrained government revenues.

Dr Ruto said in order for the reforms in global financial architecture to work, the institutions on the continent must also have the capacity to serve African economies.

He told the attendees, among them leaders from several African States, that the continent cannot keep on outsourcing solutions that it can provide for itself.

“There are things we can do to sort out some of the challenges we are facing,” he said.

It is on the backdrop of this belief that he announced Kenya’s commitment to replenish its shareholding in the AfDB, African Export-import bank (Afriexim) and Trade and Development Bank over the next three years with additional Sh13 billion (USD100 million).

“If others are to believe in our institutions, then we must believe in them,” he said.

Present were presidents Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo, Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Emmerson Mnangagwa (Zimbabwe), Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (Somalia) and Mohamed Menfi (President of the Presidential Council of the State of Libya), Burundi Vice-President Prosper Bazombanza and prime ministers Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila (Namibia) and Ali Lamine Zeine (Niger).

Others present included African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina and African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat. Rwanda President Paul Kagame recalled his time as the champion for AU institutional reforms, a baton he passed to Mr Ruto detailing how frustrating the process was.

Mr Kagame described the reforms in the continental institutions and global financial architecture as a disruptive necessity to include the interest of the continent.

“In a few decades, the only place we will have a growing middle class is Africa. It is in the interest of the rest of the world to contribute to the wellbeing of the continent,” he said.

Detailing the investments AfDB has made on the continent, among them facilitating last mile connectivity in Kenya, Dr Adesani said the institution is a solution and impact driven bank.

“But as we make these efforts, a lot more financing is needed to accelerate Africa’s development,” he said.

The need to reform the global financial architecture was also emphasised by Mr Faki who detailed how the continent is bearing the brunt of climate change.

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