Africa at the U.N. – Whither To?

In mid-September of each year, world leaders descend on New York City to attend the General Assembly Session of the United Nations. Speeches, symposia, and fanfares are basically the hallmarks of the yearly event.

Official engagements, networking, and discussions on the sidelines are held between and among power brokers, as well as shakers and movers of the world.

The behind-the-scenes chats may eventually facilitate developments in some countries.

While some African leaders may go back to their countries with sense of hope for their countries, others may go back with loads of shopping items from exquisite and expensive stores on 5th Avenue and sightseeing pictures and mementos of New York.

We would rather Africa leaders returned home with the former, and hopes of a united Africa.

Currently the effectiveness and impact of Africa at the U.N. is minimal or almost negligible because the continent is politically un-united, economically fragmented, and woefully diverse in ideology, concept, and structure.

There are 193 countries represented in the United Nations, of which more than 25% are in Africa.

Out of this number, fifteen constitute the Security Council, of which five are permanent members. Membership of the other ten is based on regional rotation.

Each of the five permanent members – the United States, China, the U.K., France, and Russia – has a veto power than could derail a majority decision of the U.N. body.

With a world population of about 7.53 billion people (2017), about 1.216 billion (2016) live in Africa, yet Africa is at the mercy of any one of the five permanent members because it has no veto power.

The world has evolved, and the basis upon which the five permanent members of the U.N. came to be has outlived its purpose.

It must be reconstituted. As it is now, the five powerful countries that hold sway over the rest of the world create an “animal farm institution” where “some are more equal than others.”

Talk about hypocritical democracy at its peak! The permanent members of the U.N. are glued to their veto powers but are quick to condemn other political leaders that hang on to power.

The saying “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” is so true for an African despot and those who have the power to change or alter the course of the world.

The 1993 reform initiative of the U.N. – the Open-Ended Working Group on the Question of Equitable Representation and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Other Matters Related to the Security Council – is bound to fail due to veto powers vested in the permanent five members on the UN Security Council.

Meanwhile, Africa will remain marginalized and sidelined due to this institutional structural constraint.

It does not help much that Africa cannot speak with one voice.

Perhaps instead of squabbling over which country will represent Africa, it would be in its own interest to push for the African Union’s candidacy toward any reform.

Alternatively, it can look to the efforts of the BRICS countries for inspiration.

What Africa needs now, more than ever, is a united front with a common voice that can sit down at a table as equal partners with and from any part of the world.

There are some few emerging Africa leaders who are focused and on course toward developing their countries.

Amandla hopes they will offer continent-wide leadership for economic emancipation and freedom that has eluded Africa since the struggle for political independence by its freedom fighters several decades ago.

The U.N. and the world will accord Africa the respect and influence it deserves once it becomes an economic power!

Posted by on Sep 25 2019. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply