Active in both regional and international organizations, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is leading the African Union (AU) at a time the African continent is going through turbulent times aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Other than leading the AU, Ramaphosa is also representing the only African country at the 2020 G20 Riyadh summit.
Ramaphosa, in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, said that it is important for advanced countries to address historic grievances that have fueled poverty and underdevelopment in the African continent.
During the G20 Riyadh summit, which will be held on November 21-22 under Saudi presidency, G20 leaders will be asked to tackle those legitimate grievances, Ramaphosa said.
“There is an urgent need for external support in providing vital requirements for implementation (financing, technology transfer and capacity building),” he noted.
“This would lead to a fair and sustainable application of the Paris Agreement on climate change, as those who have already been disproportionately affected by climate change will not bear the burden of energy transitions,” Ramaphosa stressed.
“A fair transition must be ensured as we move forward with new technologies and industries, so that no one is left behind,” he added.
Ramaphosa strongly backs coaction between the G20 and the AU.
The leader said that collaboration will help in “strengthening regional infrastructure for integrating trade within Africa, reinforcing regional value chains, including water, energy and others, and achieving a balanced role for public and private sectors.”
Speaking about Saudi Arabia, Ramaphosa noted that the Kingdom “is the largest oil exporter worldwide and plays a strategic role in maintaining supply and demand balance for global crude oil.”
“In any post-pandemic scenario for recovery, Saudi Arabia will have a more important role in ensuring international energy security,” Ramaphosa noted.
South Africa and Saudi Arabia uphold strong bilateral ties on a strategic level, the president confirmed, adding that the two countries have shared high-level engagements after his official visit to the Kingdom in July 2018.
“An important aspect of our cooperation has traditionally been based on strong economic ties, which is why the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) is the most energetic bilateral mechanism driving our partnership. We welcome the extensive Saudi investment in South Africa, especially in the energy sector,” Ramaphosa explained.
The South African leader also recognized Saudi Arabia’s role in promoting international peace, security and stability through its leadership and membership at a number of vital organizations.
“South Africa is aware of the strategic role Saudi Arabia plays in regional and international peace, security and stability, as well as its influential role in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Islamic Development Bank,” he said.
Ramaphosa also emphasized that Saudi Arabia, which is presiding over the G20 summit this year, plays an important role in promoting multilateral cooperation in limiting the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on developing countries.
Saudi Arabia is working to ensure that the least developed countries receive necessary assistance during these dire times.