By Andrea Shalal and Kopano Gumbi
PRETORIA (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday hailed South Africa’s “bold” participation in a campaign led by the U.S. and others. The state-backed Energy Transition Partnership Western nations, but avoided mentioning concerns over U.S. military exercises planned in Pretoria with China and Russia.
Yellen spoke to reporters in Pretoria alongside South African Finance Minister Enoch Godonwana, her third stop in nearly two years – The week-long trip to Africa comes just days after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited South Africa. Several issues are planned, including Zambia’s stalled sovereign debt restructuring efforts, given South Africa’s key role in the country’s creditor committee.
“The United States takes our relationship with South Africa very seriously,” Yellen said in her comments, including no mention of Russia or China, nor of White House plans for a joint military meeting with both countries in Pretoria. Exercise concerns.
Godongwana said the two countries will discuss combating terrorism financing, climate financing, solving sovereign issues Africa debt crisis and global issues will be major economies next month G20 Part of a group meeting.
He called Yellen’s visit a “significant” moment, noting that the U.S. Treasury Secretary last visited at 2014 and applauding Yellen’s announcement Wednesday that the U.S. and South Africa A joint taskforce to combat the financing of wildlife trafficking is being formed.
The U.S. Treasury Department made no statement on Wednesday’s closed-door meeting between Yellen and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, which Pretoria described as a “courtesy call.” “.
South Africa has been one of Moscow’s most important allies in the 24 invasion of Ukraine last February.
Yellen’s trip kicks off a year-long charm offensive by top U.S. leaders to Africa aimed at deepening U.S. economic ties with the continent and countering China’s longstanding trade and lending woes Dominance with many African countries.
During her visit, Yellen stressed the right of countries to choose their trading partners, while emphasizing transparency and persistence in engagement with the United States.
Finance ministers who met with the South African central bank governor later on Thursday singled out South Africa’s “Partnership for a Just Energy Transition”, which recently 2021 is backed by the United States of America, United Kingdom, France, Germany and the European Union. They pledged a total of $8.5 billion to accelerate South Africa’s transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, but the total cost would be much higher.
“This partnership represents a bold first step in South Africa’s efforts to expand access to electricity and reliability, and create a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy,” Yellen said, It added that this would “relieve severe financial pressure on the South African economy from the energy sector.”