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Kenya’s Ruto to discuss debt relief with Biden this week

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This week, Kenyan President, William Ruto will be hosted by US President, Joe Biden, for extensive negotiations that are anticipated to cover a range of topics, including Kenya’s debt relief as well as the future of Haiti, Ukraine, Sudan, and other regions.

Kenya has been facing severe cash shortages, and a senior administration official quoted by Reuter said that the US is pressuring major creditors like China, which is Kenya’s largest creditor, to provide debtor nations with assistance.

“We think it’s essential that responsible debtors provide reprieves for countries like Kenya, whether that’s by debt service suspensions or via new grant assistance,” the official said.

Additionally, Washington is pressuring global financial institutions to provide Kenya and other nations with affordable funding. During the state visit this week, the official indicated to anticipate some major joint pronouncements about debt relief “on how countries like Kenya can tackle this problem of debt.”

Washington hopes to counter China’s growing influence in Africa, which is one of the reasons it scheduled the high-profile visit by the Kenyan leader.

By collecting debt service payments and limiting follow-on loans, US Treasury Undersecretary Jay Shambaugh warned China and other nations that made large loans to low-income countries last month against free-riding.

The remarks demonstrated the mounting annoyance of debtor countries and Western countries with Beijing’s procrastination about debt restructuring and the glacial pace of debt relief negotiations.

The executive director of Jubilee USA Network, an ecumenical coalition of advocacy, development, and religious organizations, Eric LeCompte, predicted that the Ruto visit would have a significant impact on American policy on Africa.

“When Ruto speaks, he’s speaking for Africa. And given that President Biden hasn’t had the chance to visit Africa yet, this meeting is not only about Kenya, it’s really about sub-Saharan Africa as a whole,” LeCompte said.

 

During a meeting Ruto called last month, African leaders urged that affluent countries make record commitments to the World Bank’s International Growth Association, a low-interest facility that developing countries rely on to help finance economic growth and combat climate change.

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5 parties now part of South Africa’s unity government— ANC

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South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), has announced that negotiations with other parties are still underway as the party forms a government with five opposition parties.

The ANC was obliged to form coalitions with other political parties after last month’s election because it was unable to secure a parliamentary majority for the first time since the 1994 election that brought an end to apartheid.

The Democratic Alliance, led by white people and supportive of business, supported ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa in his reelection as president of South Africa’s parliament on Friday. Two smaller parties, the right-wing Patriotic Alliance and the socially conservative Inkatha Freedom Party, also supported the party.

The ANC said on Monday that GOOD, a smaller party, has also committed to join the unity government agreement. According to an ANC statement, this group holds 273 seats in the National Assembly or 68% of the total.

South Africa’s 400 seats make up its parliament. The IFP has 17 seats, the PA has 9 seats, the DA is the second-largest party with 87 seats, the ANC has 159 seats, and GOOD has one seat. According to the ANC, the unity government would guarantee that all involved parties had representation in government and would reach decisions by consensus.

The ANC stated that the unity government will prioritize land reform, infrastructure development, job creation, fixed capital investment promotion, and quick, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth.

“The president will exercise the prerogative to appoint the cabinet, in consultation with leaders of GNU (government of national unity) parties, adhering to existing protocols on government decision-making and budgeting,” the ANC said, adding it was still in discussions with more parties to join the government.

With 39 seats, the Marxist Economic Freedom Fighters party has declared that it will not serve in a government with the Democratic Alliance (DA) or the Freedom Front Plus, two organizations that receive support from the white minority.

The former president Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto we Sizwe party is likewise not a member of the unity government. With 58 seats in the National Assembly, it has declared that it will join the EFF and the center-left United Democratic Movement in the “Progressive Caucus,” a group of minor opposition parties in parliament.

The unity government will face official resistance from this alliance.

“With populist parties choosing to reject the GNU, and the ANC’s bigger partners in the governing coalition centre-leaning and favouring more liberal economic policies, we think the GNU opens the possibility for more growth-friendly structural reforms and prudent macroeconomic policy choices,” HSBC economist David Faulkner said in a note.

“But the GNU could also face ideological divisions and exacerbate fractures within the ANC, factors that could make establishing a stable policy framework difficult.”

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South Africa: Parliament reelects Cyril Ramaphosa as president

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President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has been re-elected for a second term. He was nominated for re-election on Friday by a member of his African National Congress (ANC) party during the first sitting of parliament following last month’s election.

Julius Malema, the opposition Economic Freedom Fighter, was also put forward for the nation’s presidency, necessitating a vote in parliament to determine the winner.

With a majority of votes in the National Assembly, Chief Justice Ramaphosa was proclaimed president. Julius Malema, the leader of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters party, received 44 votes, while Ramaphosa received 283.

The Democratic Alliance party said earlier in the day that it would support Ramaphosa in the election as part of a deal to establish a unity government with the African National Congress.

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has been re-elected for a second term. He was nominated for re-election on Friday by a member of his African National Congress (ANC) party during the first sitting of parliament following last month’s election.

Out of the 400 seats in the recently elected National Assembly, 246 are held by the ANC and DA.

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