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US Dollar Used as Tool to 'Punish' Countries: Ethiopian Expert

© SputnikJafar Geletu, deputy executive director of the Ethiopian Institute of Foreign Affairs (IFA)
Jafar Geletu, deputy executive director of the Ethiopian Institute of Foreign Affairs (IFA) - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 04.10.2023
De-dollarization has recently emerged as a crucial agenda item in the Global South. States are exploring strategies to shift trade away from the dollar towards local currencies. The discourse of moving away from the USD is further motivated by the possibly unstable position of this currency in the global market, particularly as a recession looms.
The Western world has long been using the needs of developing nations to impose its own terms, "weaponizing" financial assistance to meddle in other countries' internal affairs and advance its agenda, said Jafar Geletu, Deputy Executive Director of the Institute of Foreign Affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, in an interview with Sputnik Africa.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 20th annual meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club, the expert emphasized that developing nations need significant financial and technical support, therefore, they are seeking assistance from the international community and the West in particular. However, the latter often aims to benefit from the situation, disregarding the potential consequences for the nations involved and neglecting their aspirations and interests.

"But this aid has been weaponized to interfere in the internal policy making, in the internal affairs of countries," he said, adding: "So what we need is a diversified source of help and aid. That aid should be provided for those who need it without attaching any geopolitical interest."

He went on to say that financial aid should not be used as a means of advancing one's agenda, a practice that has become the norm since the end of the Cold War. In this regard, he emphasized the detrimental effect of using the US currency in international transactions.
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According to Jafar Geletu, monopolizing one currency tied to a specific nation and dominating economic transactions is "not good" because it may result in the irresponsible use of power to further a particular position and national interest. Thus, it was suggested and agreed that nations around the world "should diversify."

"So this issue of de-dollarization has been suggested as a solution to diversify the monetary reserve currency away from the dollar, because dollar has been used as a tool to punish countries such as Russia [that] has been victimized by this dominance of dollar," he explained.

He explained that the use of the dollar as the leading global currency has enabled Western countries to promote their liberal ideology and pressure others to adopt similar political, economic, and social systems. The concept has been used as a tool of foreign policy "to punish countries to make them homogeneous with the ideas and the narratives in the cultures of the West."
However, he stressed, developing nations have their own structures and systems, and they are no longer willing to succumb to external pressure and embrace foreign values.
"The de-dollarization and other diversified forms of global trade would resolve this problem of being one currency, dominating, monopolizing, and it has been used to abuse the sovereignty of other countries. So it's a good idea, the diversification of these currencies [that] has been suggested," the expert said.

BRICS Defying Status Quo in International Relations

As China, Russia, and other BRICS countries are gaining more global influence, they have started to question the biased and selective practices of multilateral institutions used by Western powers to promote their own narratives and interests, Jafar Geletu continued.
These countries are challenging the "Western abuse" of the current financial system and are trying to advance the interests of the global majority within its framework. According to the expert, they are raising vital and intriguing questions regarding the fairness of the global financial architecture.
Against this backdrop, calls for a transformation of the current system have gained momentum, he said, adding that this development is a positive sign that the world is now in a transitional phase.
"We need to balance the need to reform and to balance these institutions to serve the interests of all countries fairly, equally with respect to the sovereign interests of these other countries," he said.
Speaking about Ethiopia's place and role in the current changes, he noted that his country strives to maintain a delicate balance between major powers and suggests that these nations should weigh their interests and self-regulate their actions. This approach, he stressed, aims to prevent a catastrophic nuclear war that would endanger all of humanity.
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He reiterated that the transition to a multipolar world is ongoing, and a negotiated settlement is necessary for nations to resolve differences. While the influence of BRICS countries and other emerging economies is increasing, Western nations still possess "the legacy power to control the global system."
The BRICS group has presented alternative ways to address the misuse of the international institutions, including the IMF and World Bank, thus complementing the current system, he explained.

"But we see it [BRICS] as complementing existing institutions, not replacing them, or challenging as competing alternative source of organization, but it complements the shortcomings of the existing organizations," the expert said.

Commenting on the recent expansion of the group, Jafar Geletu stated that Ethiopia could gain economic and political benefits from its membership in BRICS. According to him, it provides several advantages in terms of safeguarding the country's sovereignty and acquiring alternative development financing sources. The protection of sovereignty is particularly important for Ethiopians since the nation has never been colonized, he added.
The expert further elaborated that Ethiopia is a developing nation that needs substantial monetary aid, technological support, and technical assistance from "advanced countries like Russia."
"Within the framework of the BRICS group, this is going to be very important, increasing Ethiopia's ability to improve its economy and to grow out of poverty. Economically speaking, Ethiopia joining BRICS increases our potential for economic development," he explained.
And politically, it will enable Ethiopia to prevent any country from exploiting its financial weaknesses to interfere in its domestic affairs. He reiterated that Ethiopia's membership in BRICS would significantly contribute to its economic and political independence and sovereignty.
According to Jafar Geletu, the BRICS coalition ensures the full and faithful implementation of the principles of the UN Charter, safeguarding independence and respecting sovereign borders. The BRICS member states aim to foster a global political system where countries peacefully coexist and respect each other, engaging in "mutually beneficial economic exchanges."