President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for the reform of the global financial institutions.
He said Africa wanted to play a key role in these institutions.
He said Western countries were in charge of these institutions and the continent had little or no role at all.
Ramaphosa, who was making closing remarks at the New Global Financing Pact summit in Paris on Friday, also called for the rich nations to walk the talk when it comes to investing in infrastructure in Africa.
There needed to be consensus on the reform of global financial institutions.
Ramaphosa said the continent needed to be treated equally.
“The other important thing for this to happen is that it will help us not to participate as unequal cousins in these institutions. It will help us to participate fully so that we don’t have a sense that we are beggars. I think it is important in the new era that the world is in now that there should be equality among sovereign nations,” said Ramaphosa.
He said when seven leaders from Africa went to Ukraine and Russia last weekend on a peace mission, this is one of the issues they raised over the grain deal.
The Africans said while they were in need of grain and fertiliser, they wanted Russia and Ukraine to open the Black Sea channel to allow for grain and fertiliser to be sold in the world market.
When the rich nations hogged vaccines during Covid-19, Africa was not happy about it, he told the Paris conference, adding that it was then decided Africa must develop its own vaccines.
Ramaphosa said they did not want to be treated as unequal in the global financial systems.
“Even in the multilateral institutions we want to be treated as equals. If our equity is at a low ebb there must be ways in which that can be addressed. We want to be key players on the world stage. We want to be key players, even in the financial markets,” he said.
Ramaphosa also called for investment in infrastructure in Africa.
There were many commitments that were made at conferences of this nature, but little was done.
From COP climate change conferences to Paris and other summits, commitments are made every year, but there is no money flowing into projects on the African continent, he said.
More than 600 million people in Africa did not have access to electricity, despite all the resources in place.
There was a need for the rich nations to invest in mega projects to generate electricity on the continent.
Major energy projects can provide electricity to over 15 countries in Africa, said Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa said if the West can reform the global financial systems and invest in infrastructure projects in Africa, then African nations will believe the West are serious about the commitments they are making.
“As we rise from this, we should be able to say the Inga dam is now going to be developed into a power station. The one that President Sassou Nguesso mentioned, and the next one as well.
“If you can do that, we as Africans will be convinced that these summits are really meaningful. We will now go home and say ‘you know what, it’s worthwhile going to these summits, coming to Europe and to listen to all the promises because they are willing to act on the promises’. This is what, President (Emmanuel) Macron, I believe will be one of the important outcomes. The reform of the financial architecture as well as the practical infrastructure project that is going to add a lot of value.
“But one on generating electricity and building power stations on the Inga dam is the most important, that is immediate, that I believe needs to be addressed now. Let’s get that done and then we will be convinced that you are serious with the promises that you make,” said Ramaphosa.
He said nations that have money must put money into infrastructure projects.