United Nations Security Council reform and the dilemmas of African continental integration

25 October 2016

This article analyses the disunity among African states in terms of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reform, and attributes it to the contest between South Africa and Nigeria. These two countries have been locked in a hegemonic contest for continental domination. To this end, the article notes that African unity, not in terms of protocol but on the basis of principles and cooperation, is sacrosanct in order for the African Union to make a significant contribution to the reform of the UNSC. It is asserted that the contest between South Africa and Nigeria has been symbolised by the continental leadership aspirations of the heads of state of both countries, and recommends that it be tamed through forging diplomatic and strategic partnerships between the ruling parties of these two countries. The influence of external actors on the African countries, particularly that of France, is underscored as a contributing factor in stalling the debate on the UNSC reform. It recommends that South Africa use its strategic partnership within the association of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), particularly Russia and China as permanent members of the UNSC, to influence the realisation of the reform debate.