Ruto calls for increased funding for Africa

President William Ruto has urged the international financial system to increase funding to meet the new challenges faced by countries in the Global South.

The Global South is made up of 78 countries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Pacific Islands, and Asia, excluding Israel, Japan, and South Korea.

Speaking at a virtual discussion with the Rockefeller Foundation Board of Trustees, Ruto also proposed shorter periods of between 12 and 18 months for disbursement of funds, citing that financing currently takes up to 24 months to be released.

“The experience with climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic should make us understand the need to eliminate the North-South divide, and that boundaries are irrelevant,” Ruto said.

Ruto’s call for increased funding for the Global South comes at a time when developing countries are grappling with the adverse effects of climate change, pandemics, and socio-economic challenges.

Kenya, like many other countries in the Global South, has been hit hard by climate change, with five seasons of failed rainfall, floods, and rising inflation affecting millions of people.

The country is still reeling from its worst drought which left over 4 million people in need of food aid. The drought also resulted in the death of thousands of livestock and wildlife, exacerbating poverty and food insecurity in the country.

The Head of State highlighted that the needs of the developing world have changed fundamentally since the establishment of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund after the Second World War and therefore, the financing instruments should also change.

Ruto called out the unfairness in the international financial system, stating that countries in the Global South borrow from the same institutions at interest rates 50 to 100 times higher than those in the Global North.

For instance, Kenya pays 10% interest for Eurobonds, while some countries in the Global North borrow at interest rates as low as 0.1 to 0.5%.

“For our Eurobonds, Kenya pays 10 percent interest, while some countries pay up to 15 percent. But nations in the Global North borrow at interest as low as between 0.1 and 0.5 percent,” he said.

Ruto emphasized that financing that suits the needs of Africa and the rest of the Global South is what stands between the countries and transformation. He thanked the Rockefeller Foundation for amplifying its voice on climate change and urged other organizations to follow suit.

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who also participated in the virtual discussion, expressed that the effects of climate change are being felt globally and not just in the Global South.

“The chickens have come home to roost,” she said.

Meanwhile, Rockefeller Foundation has announced its support for Kenya’s climate conference in September ahead of COP 28 in Paris later in the year.

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