Nigeria and South Africa reportedly are working together to obtain permanent seats on the UN Security Council. South Africa’s deputy foreign minister is quoted as saying the two countries would be able to “put together a common position on UN reform.”
Other candidates said to be vying for those seats include Kenya, Senegal, Ghana and Egypt.
Professor Frances Nwonwu is the coordinator for sustainable development for the Africa Institute of South Africa, an independent, non-profit research organization. From Pretoria, he spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the Nigeria-South African partnership.
He says, “The relationship between Nigeria and South Africa has been a long lasting one. Even in the days of Apartheid, Nigeria was on the side of liberation, trying to fight Apartheid as a monster that was tearing down the vigor and the strength of Africa to develop as a continent. So after independence (for South Africa) in 1994, these two countries worked tirelessly together to act as the vanguard or the champions or the drivers of Africa’s liberation.”
But would there be concern among Security Council members about having two new members so closely allied? Professor Nwonwu says, “The members of the Security Council have always been very apprehensive of Africa’s drive to have a go at the authority and then the voting power that the Security Council has…But it’s going to be in the best interests of Africa is Africa is effectively represented. Africa sees their representation by one country as insufficient given the fact that it’s a continent of its own. And when they are treated just like a sub-region or as a region and not as a continent they don’t seem to be satisfied with it.”
As for Egypt, a non sub-Saharan country, Professor Nwonwu says, “It’s unfortunate that when it comes to going for glory, the North African countries take advantage of their proximity to the West, the North if you like. They align more with them when it comes to issues of global interest or global engagement. And kind of differentiate themselves from sub-Saharan Africa, which always bears the brunt of most of the vices of under development or globalization.”