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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Africa deserves a permanent seat on Security Council

Even though the geopolitical realities have changed drastically since 1945, when the set-up of the current Council was decided, the Security Council has changed very little during this long period. The winners of Second World War shaped the Charter of the United Nations in their national interests, dividing the veto-power pertinent to the permanent seats amongst themselves.  With the enlargement of the United Nations membership and increasing self-confidence among the new members, going hand in hand with processes of decolonization, old structures and procedures were increasingly challenged. The imbalance between the number of seats in the Security Council and the total number of member States became evident and the only significant reform of the Security Council came to pass in 1965 after the ratification of two-thirds of the membership, including the five permanent members of the Security Council (that have a veto right on Charter changes). 


The reform included an increase of the non-permanent membership from six to 10 members. With Boutros Boutros-Ghali elected as Secretary-General in 1992, the reform discussions of the UN Security Council were launched again as he started his new term with the first-ever summit of the Security Council and thereafter published “An Agenda for Peace”. His motivation was to restructure the composition and anachronistic procedures of the UN organ recognising the changed world. 


Simultaneously, the African Group started to demand two permanent seats for themselves, on the basis of historical injustices and the fact that a large part of the Council’s agenda is concentrated on the continent. Those two seats would be permanent African seats, that rotate between African countries chosen by the African group.


Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa are the most likely contenders. Although no one nation from Africa has formally been put forward as a candidate for membership on the Security Council these three countries are seen as the strongest choices. 


Egypt has the biggest military on the continent, was one of the founding members of the United Nations and enjoys great influence in Africa and in the Arab world; South Africa until a few months ago had the largest economy on the continent; and Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and consistently contributes large numbers of troops to UN peacekeeping operations. 


The ethos that govern the political systems of the postmodern narrative calls on African people as well as all others not equally represented in the top echelons of the UN to strive to gain equal representation; for its only true that in a time marked by upheavals and paradigm shifts in power and diplomatic relations, for the states that haven’t been on an equal footing with the other more powerful nations to take a lead into the affairs of the world governing system, thus bringing equilibrium and balance. President Jammeh is right. Africa deserves a seat, or two at world’s top boys club.


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