Godongwana talks power, SA financial system with Global Financial institution president, US treasury secretary Yellen

Finance Minister, Enoch Godongwana. Photo by Gallo Images/Brenton Geach.

Finance minister Enoch Godongwana, who has been in Washington DC for the Spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank over the past week, has met with both World Bank and the US Treasury to discuss issues of global significance.

The Spring meetings, which include sideline meetings among finance ministers of the G20, are taking place in the midst of global tensions not experienced since the end of the second World War as Russia’s campaign against Ukraine sinks further into stalemate.

On Saturday, Godongwana met with World Bank president David Malpass. A statement from the bank issued on Saturday said that the two had exchanged views on “the world economy and SA’s economic prospects” in which Malpass welcomed SA’s efforts to improve the business climate.

“President Malpass and Minister Godongwana also discussed energy sector reforms and the energy transition, including plans for decommissioning coal-fired power plants and increasing renewable energy sources,” according to the statement.

In October last year, the US, UK, Germany, France and the EU all committed to assisting SA with its energy transition to cleaner electricity generation. International finance institutions will play a critical role in leveraging the $8.5bn pledged.

The bank said the two also discussed SA’s partnership with the World Bank group and “exchanged views on the innovative financing instruments, including the recent conservation wildlife bond by the IBRD to protect black rhinos in SA”.

Prior to the start of the G20 Gondongwana also held a private meeting with US treasury secretary Janet Yellen. Yellen and the finance ministers of the UK and Canada staged a walk out at the G20 meeting in protest at the presence of the Russian delegation.

The National Treasury said that in Yellen’s meeting with Godongwana, the US treasury secretary had not appealed to Godongwana to join the G20 walkout. While the Russian-Ukraine conflict was discussed “Godongwana reiterated SA’s wish for deeper dialogue and peaceful, swift end to the impasse”.

“He also expressed SA’s concern at the loss of life due to the conflict and its potential to destabilize the global economic recovery and cause lasting damage to the economies of low and middle-income countries.”

In the meeting with Yellen, the Treasury said that the US had also raised the issue of SA’s energy transition to a lower-carbon emissions economy and what the US could do to support it. Yellen and Godongwana also discussed how the two countries could “improve Anti-Money Laundering efforts,” said treasury.

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