Africa Demands United Nations Security Council Seat by 2023

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General view of The United Nations Security Council meeting

Photographer: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
  • Proposal for at least two permanent seats for the continent
  • Japan premier has pledged ‘complete support’ for African bid

African countries should have permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council by 2023, a move that would make the body more representative and democratic, the African Union Commission’s deputy chairman said.

Achieving greater representation is the basis of the Ezulwini Consensus, a position adopted by the African Union in 2005 that proposes at least two permanent and five non-permanent African seats on the Security Council, the UN organ charged with maintaining international peace and security. The African Union itself would nominate the countries.

“If you look at the UN Security Council, over 60 percent of its work is in Africa, and yet Africa is not on the Security Council,” the commission’s deputy chairman, Erastus Mwencha, said Sunday in an interview in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. “Africa is not one of those with a veto.”

The Security Council currently has 15 members, five of which -- the U.S., U.K., China, France and Russia -- are permanent and have the power to veto resolutions. Non-permanent positions rotate every two years. Speaking at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Nairobi on Saturday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his “complete support” for Africa’s bid for permanent seats.

“Time is gone when Africa was just a taker of policies that were crafted elsewhere,” Mwencha said. “Africa wants to be at the table to be able to contribute.”

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