Many agree that the Berlin Conference, which was held in 1885, has shaped and affected Africa’s politics, socio economy and geography.
Further, it has had a meaningful impact in the continents’ diplomacy in the post-colonial period. The conference was also believed to be a form of multilateral diplomacy. European colonial powers, in the conference, had articulated their interest to establish the rules for the conquest and partition of Africa. Since then, in international interstate relations, multilateralism refersto an alliance of multiple countries pursuing a common goal.
It is also a process of organizing relations between groups of three or more states. Multilateral diplomacy requires collaboration on issues such as economic development, international security, global health, human rights, and environmental issues.
Hence, multilateral diplomacy is imperative, as the practice of involving more than two nations or parties in achieving diplomatic solutions to supranational problems, and used to loosen the constant political stresses and tensions that run through bilateral diplomacy.
Taking the importance of multilateralism relations into account, currently, Africa is requiring multilateral diplomacy to benefit from the international political, economic, and social aspects. This has been briefly observed during the 35th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) meeting last week. The incoming African Union (AU)
Chairperson and Senegalese President Macky Sall said that the continent is open to forging a mutually-beneficial partnership that respects its development ambition and choice of the people with the rest of the world.
This is because Africa will not allow others to benefit at the expense of its people. Hence, ensuring the development and economic prosperity of Africa has to be the main priorities of the continent.
Moreover, applying for the reformation of the international economic and financial regime, alleviating poor financing system, addressing incompetency of investments, and building partnerships to modernize Africa’s financial system is a key area to be advocated, Sall noted.
As to him, Africa needs the real practice of multilateralism which ensures the transparency and accountability of the world political and economic systems to make sure the development of the continent.
Despite the political and economic challenges, identifying major priority areas and working for the realization of the objectives are central aspects of multilateral diplomacy. Articulating the objectives not only gives road maps to AU member states, but also paves the way to fight any external pressures which were observed during the anti-colonialism movements.
The outgoing AU Chair and Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi said that there have been external pressures last year.
Nevertheless, efforts that have been made to prevent external interference by member states were fruitful and needed to be consolidated in the future.
Along with Multilateral diplomacy, in fact, unity is very essential to be heard in the international world stages and fora since the application of multilateralism diplomacy highly requires unity and commitment.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed in his part noted that “our Union has committed to undertake ambitious plans designed to transform our continent and create the Africa We Want. We want a prosperous Africa based on sustainable and equitable development.” Additionally, “we want a politically united continent that aspires to fulfill the ideals of Pan Africanism and the vision of an African Renaissance.
Africa’s voice on the world stage needs to be heard loud and clear. Africa must also be represented on important international bodies, he added.
Studies have shown that Africa has diversified identities, cultures, languages, ways of living, and so on. They also preach to the world the difficulties of unity and togetherness of Africans.
The solidarity and unity, as a group or class that produces or, is based on shared of interests, objectives, and standards, has been disseminated as a challenging task in the continent which always is not true. According to Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed, “The greatest lesson that Ethiopia has learned over the past year is that, without the solidarity of African brothers and sisters, our existence as a nation would have been at great risk. This affirms the wisdom of our forefathers and foremothers in their dream of Pan Africanism.
The old saying is true. United we stand, divided we fall. Today, we stand proud and tall as Africans in the shadow of those who struggled to liberate and unite Africa. Our steadfast unity is the anchor and foundation of our Agenda 2063”.
Africa needs togetherness and multilateralism for the fundamental and vital issues to the life of the Africans to ensure both inside and outside objectives and goals.
As stated by Sall, Africa needs unity to ensure intra-trade relations, funding development and infrastructures, medical and pharmaceutical sovereignty, financing the organ, energy transformation which could help industrialization and universal access to electricity.
“Focusing on unity and multilateralism diplomacy, therefore, will support Africa to strengthen and renew the ever-existing relations, with the China-Africa, TurkeyAfrica, Africa with EU, Japan, Russia, the Arab world, the USA, and so on, in a win-win situation for the development of the continent”, he explained.
Currently, just like the Berlin conference, Africans have understood the value of solidarity and multilateralism diplomacy to echo continental needs that bring sustainability in international relations, especially international economic relations, the peaceful coexistence of all members of the international community, equal partnerships, and the equitable sharing of benefits and burdens.
Editor’s Note: The views entertained in this article do not necessarily reflect the stance of The
BY EPHREM ANDARGACHEW
The 12 February 2022