Africa’s absence in the UNSC casts shadow on world system


Being home to over 1.3 populations, Africa has unfairly been excluded from powerful international organizations like United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Despite its large geography and demography, the continent has long been left out of the highest peace and security body undermining the credibility and neutrality of the world system.

For many, Africa’s absence from the UNSC paints a grim picture and the long lingering injustice at the heart of the highest international body. Excluding Africa from international peace and security issues blocks any effort to ensure lasting peace and stability at the international level.

In fact, Africa has been the bystander of its own affairs. In some cases, the continent has been a victim of political conspiracies as it failed to echo its voice on the world stage. Countries have been labeled and even sanctioned by the free will of the powerful nations that seem to have an exclusive right over the highest decision-making body. The latest victim has been Ethiopia with the country unfairly treated by the Council in connection with its internal matter.

With the continent’s international engagement increasing, there have been calls from leaders and peace and security experts urging the UN body to go back to the drawing board and redress the question of fair representations.

Since recently, Ethiopia has been echoing the issue in the regional and international arena.

Speaking at the recent AU summit held in its headquarter—Addis Ababa, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (Ph.D.) called for fair representation of Africa on important international bodies like UNSC. Meanwhile, he has proposed for the establishment of an African Union media house to share its narratives and combat misleading stereotypes.

In his opening speech at the 35th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly, Abiy stated that Africa’s voice on the world stage needs to be heard loud and clear. Africa must also be represented on important international bodies.

“Today, more than seven decades after the creation of the United Nations, Africa remains a junior partner without meaningful input or role in the system of international governance. This is particularly true of the United Nations where Africa lacks representation on the UNSC and is underrepresented in a variety of ways.”

He further explained that it is the right time to reform and revitalize the United Nations system to reflect current global realities and ensure that it is a more representative and equitable body. Only fair representation and transparency in those institutions can usher in a just era in multilateralism.

Many countries are now joining Ethiopia in its calls for a more equal and fair representation in the international system.

It is high time to accept Africa’s long quest for a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) permanent seat. Africa has been demanding reform in UNSC for many years, said Ambassador of Angola to Ethiopia, and Permanent Representative to the AU and UNECA Francisco Jose Da Cruz in an exclusive interview with The .

“We think it is important for Africans to have a seat as a permanent member of the UNSC. There is something that we continue to stress, defend, and for sure that at some point other countries will understand this is the way to go.”

The same is valid for other regions of the world which need to be represented at the Security Council level, the Ambassador added.

Casting their doubts on the neutrality of the UNSC, experts have also been making similar calls on the UN body to reform itself and be more inclusive.

“The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reform has become the order of the day and Africa, South America and the Middle East should entitle permanent seats to ensure the representativeness of the world’s most powerful decision making body”, said Addis Ababa University History Assistant Professor Abebaw Ayalew in a previous interview.

People in the aforesaid regions should have their representatives at UNSC to take part in decisions concerning their respective issues. Especially, Africa needs the right to veto power to pass decisions concerning its matters, Abebaw added.

The scholar pointed out that the regions deserve the right to veto on a rotation basis thereby ensuring the balance of power and discouraging global powers’ unwarranted attempts of meddling in the affairs of the developing world.

Noting Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s (Ph.D.) joining of the campaign for Africa to get a permanent seat in the UNSC is timely. “The movement will lead Africa towards a new political and diplomacy era. It is unrealistic to think that Africa will ever see changes while the West sees its issues in its absence. The Security Council must be able to bring a lot of reforms within it.”

According to him, the permanent seat and voting of the UNSC is naturally unfair and it ignores the voice of the Third World countries and facilitates the neo-colonialist type of world relations. The council’s arrangement makes weaker countries too reliant on the political support of powerful nations.

“If the UNSC is a truly global organization, there must be a fair representation of continents, and Africa, as a hub of 54 countries and deprived of its right due to colonialism, should secure more than one permanent seat.”

Ambo University Political Science Lecturer Solomon Tefera told The that the UNSC’s decision-making process seriously lacks democratization and inclusiveness, while dealing with issues of the Third world.

All issues raised and decisions made by the Council regarding Africa are still unfair, unbalanced, and emerged from Western ideology. The decisions made so far do not represent the1.3 billion population of Africa and the issues were discussed and decided without permanent representation of the continent’s blocs.

“It is surprising in the 21st century to see solely five countries making decisions about 54 African countries without single representation as the action is tantamount to the transformed form of colonization.”

The academician further noted that most of the decisions made by the UNSC concerning Africa have targeted at creating a dependent continent and facilitating Western interventionism under the guise of Human rights and aid supply. “In the name of humanitarian assistance, human right, and security concern, some members of the UNSC have indirectly intervened in African economic, political and cultural affairs.”

The expert recommended that the African Union must play a pivotal role in ensuring Africa’s freedom and securing its seat at the UNSC, and Africans have to follow viable mechanisms to reject Western interest-based meetings via declining participation and scrupulously viewing the campaigner’s real motives.

Getting one another’s voice heard loud and reinvigorating regional integrity towards socio-economic and political spheres are also expected from Africans.

The issue of peace and security is the matter of all human beings and all countries in the world as it is the soul and flesh of existence. Peace cannot be attained unless all voices are heard and entertained. There have been recurrent violence and conflicts in Africa and these issues cannot be settled by the UNSC without the continent’s representations. This is the right time for the UN to be more inclusive and fair than ever before. As members of the set—the planet—all African countries have to be treated equally and in a just fashion.

The February 9/2022

Leave a Reply