by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – SOUTH African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has decried the use of global payment systems to settle geopolitical differences.
The host president was speaking at the opening plenary of the 15th Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Summit, attended by leaders of these countries and other invited guests.
“We are concerned that global financial and payments systems are increasingly being used as instruments of geopolitical contestation,” Rampaphosa said.
He said global economic recovery relies on predictable global payment systems and the smooth operation of banking, supply chains, trade, tourism and financial flows.
“We will continue discussions on practical measures to facilitate trade and investment flows through the increased use of local currencies,” said Ramaphosa, as the global south increasingly abandon or reduce reliance on US dollar.
While he did not dwell much on the issue, the use of financial systems in geopolitical contestations is best exemplified by the removal in 2022 of seven Russian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT).
SWIFT provides services related to the execution of financial transactions and payments between certain banks worldwide.
The European Commission proposed the removal of Russian banks as one of sanctions against Moscow by the European Union (EU) and other western countries to weaken the country’s economy and compel it to end the war with Ukraine.
Ramaphosa said advancing the African agenda is a strategic priority for South Africa during its Chairship of BRICS.
It is for this reason that theme of this year’s BRICS Summit is, “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism.”
“We welcome the ongoing engagement of BRICS countries with Africa in the spirit of partnership and mutual respect,” said Ramaphosa.
Several African countries have applied for inception into the bloc.
“Our objectives are reciprocal trade and investment. We want the goods, products and services from Africa to compete on an equal footing in the global economy,” Ramaphosa continued.
The South African president believes the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA), once fully operational, will unlock the benefits of the continental market and generate mutually beneficial opportunities for both African and BRICS countries.
BRICS represent about 40 percent of the world’s population and a quarter of global gross domestic product (GDP).
– CAJ News