Ramaphosa calls for reform of UN, multilateral institutions

President Cyril Ramaphosa with Russian leader Vladimir Putin during their discussions on the Ukraine conflict. File Picture: Ramil Sitdikov/ AFP

President Cyril Ramaphosa with Russian leader Vladimir Putin during their discussions on the Ukraine conflict. File Picture: Ramil Sitdikov/ AFP

Published Jul 28, 2023


President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for the reform of the UN and other multilateral institutions.

He said Africa must also not be beholden to other countries when it comes to policy matters.

Ramaphosa said he hoped both Russia and Ukraine will be able to find a solution to the conflict.

Ramaphosa and six other heads of state from Africa have been involved in peace negotiations between President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.

They proposes a 12-point plan to find a solution to the conflict.

But in his speech in St Petersburg on Friday, where he was addressing the Russia-Africa Summit, Ramaphosa said there were business, trade and investment relations between Russia and the continent.

He said South Africa will be hosting the BRICS summit next month in Johannesburg and the bloc was one of the major investors in Africa.

Ramaphosa said the reform of the UN and other multilateral institutions remained key.

It was unfair that a continent such as Africa with 1.3 billion people does not have a permanent seat at the UN Security Council.

He said this situation was untenable and must be addressed.

“Geopolitical tensions are negatively affecting countries across Africa. As part of Russia-Africa cooperation we must repeat our call for existing global institutional mechanisms to be both strengthened and reformed.

“Greater participation of countries of the Global South will promote inclusiveness and engender trust. In this regard, the reform of the multilateral financial institutions and the UN Security Council remains a priority,” said Ramaphosa.

He also said he hoped the conflict between Russia and Ukraine will be resolved.

Ramaphosa led a peace mission with the president of Senegal Macky Sall, Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia and Azali Assoumani of Comoros.

Egypt, Uganda and Congo-Brazzaville were also represented during the peace mission in June where the African leaders met with Putin and Zelensky in St Petersburg and Kyiv, respectively.

Since then, Ramaphosa has had follow-up discussions with the two leaders telephonically.

Putin said this week they were going to continue with their discussions on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa summit.

Ramaphosa told the summit on Friday that nations must work for peace and bring and end to conflicts.

“It is our hope that constructive engagement and negotiation can bring about an end to the ongoing conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine. As South Africa, our own history has taught us that this is indeed possible,” said Ramaphosa.

He said South Africa will host the BRICS summit next month. BRICS members were significant investors in Africa.

This was an opportunity for many countries to work with BRICS member states.

Egypt was admitted as a member of the BRICS Bank when Foreign Ministers of the bloc met in June. Algeria is another country that has expressed an interest to join BRICS.

BRICS leaders have said about 20 countries want to join it.

“The BRICS partners are significant investors in Africa. The upcoming summit will therefore give particular attention to infrastructure development, supported by the New Development Bank, and the African Continental Free Trade Area.

“The African Continental Free Trade Area, once fully operational, will unlock the benefits of the continental market and generate mutually beneficial opportunities for both African and BRICS countries. African countries should, as sovereign states, be able to pursue independent foreign policy approaches that are not beholden to any of the major global powers or blocs,” said Ramaphosa.

This is the same issue that was raised by International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor when she said Africa must not be held hostage by the West.

She also called for the reform of global financial institutions and other multilateral bodies.

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