South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, in a recent address to the United Nations General Assembly, emphatically highlighted the global community’s skewed priorities, lamenting the vast sums spent on warfare rather than on developmental initiatives.
“It is a grave indictment of this international community that we can spend so much on war, but we cannot support action that needs to be taken to meet the most basic needs of billions of people,” he said.
A Call for Increased Aid and Diplomacy
President Ramaphosa underscored the urgency to significantly amplify aid for development, especially as the world grapples with the challenge of achieving the UN’s ambitious target of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030.
In the backdrop of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Ramaphosa revealed that he had discussions with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in New York regarding a peace initiative spearheaded by African nations.
“As the international community, we must do everything within our means to enable meaningful dialogue, just as we should refrain from any actions that fuel the conflict,” he remarked.
South Africa’s Stance on the Ukraine Conflict
South Africa, in solidarity with several other developing nations, maintains a neutral position regarding the Ukraine war. This stance is influenced by historical ties, particularly the former Soviet Union’s support towards ending apartheid in South Africa.
However, this neutrality has been tested. Allegations have surfaced from the US ambassador in South Africa, suggesting that the nation permitted arms shipments to Russia. President Ramaphosa refuted these claims, pointing to the results of a subsequent investigation.
Concerns Over Democratic Governance in Africa
Beyond the global stage, Ramaphosa also turned his attention to the African continent, expressing concern over recent undemocratic shifts in governance. He emphasized South Africa’s commitment to democracy and voiced apprehension over the recent military takeovers in countries like Niger.
“As a global community, we should be concerned by recent incidents of unconstitutional changes of government in some parts of Africa,” he stated.
The president’s remarks at the UN General Assembly serve as a reminder of the interconnected challenges the world faces, from regional conflicts to global developmental goals, and the need for collective action and diplomacy.