For many years, African countries and other developing nations have been bitterly complaining about the slow pace of reform of multilateral institutions such as the United Nations as well as the overhaul of global financial architecture.
By Problem Masau
At the global stage Western countries led by the US continue to exercise hegemony which they abuse to foist their views on weaker countries and to manipulate world systems in their favour.
However, the rise of China offers lots of hope.
In particular, China is not just seeking hegemony but offers an alternative system of world governance that is underpinned by a philosophy of respect, tolerance and true multilateralism.
President Xi Jinping is a strong advocate of this paradigm, which has great advantages of advancing peace and development among peoples of the world.
President Xi has always advocated for smaller nations’ voices to be heard in global development.
“Today’s mankind is better qualified than ever before to achieve the goal of peace and development together,” he says in his book, “Governance of China”.
“China advocates that people of all countries make concerted efforts, turn pressure into impetus, turn crises into opportunities, replace confrontation with cooperation and replace monopoly with benefits for all.
“This is something that should be decided by all countries through consultation, not by single country or a minority of countries. Together with people from other countries, China will actively participate in the construction of a global order, trying to contribute China’s wisdom to implementing global governance and push global order and governance to develop in a fairer and more reasonable way,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping in his book Governance of China.
He said the purpose of China’s diplomatic policy is to safeguard world peace and promote common development.
“China is always a builder of global order. China is willing to expand converging interests with other countries, accelerating the construction of new international relations centering on win-win cooperation and forming a community of shared future and common interests.
“China is committed to an independent foreign policy of peace and developing friendly cooperation with all other countries on the basis of the Five principles of Peaceful Coexistence. The Chinese people know very well that China’s development has benefited from international society,” he added.
China made similar calls during the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
“We call for necessary reforms of the UN including its Security Council to better fulfill their responsibilities prescribed in the UN Charter and enhance the UN’s capacity to deal with global threats and challenges and strengthen global governance,” the Beijing Declaration document said.
“We emphasize that the historical injustice endured by African countries should be corrected, that priority should be given to increasing the representation of African countries at the UN Security Council and other agencies, and that concerted efforts should be made to steer the reform of the international governance system toward better serving the common interests of developing countries.
“China will enhance communication and coordination with Africa’s non-permanent members of the Security Council to jointly uphold the common interests of the two sides and developing countries as a whole. We also call for reforms of international financial institutions including the Bretton Woods institutions,” reads the Beijing Declaration.
The recent The United Nations General Assembly showed how the issue of lack of a new leadership direction, which China can easily provide, is still a sore point.
Zimbabwe’s President Mnangagwa said there was need to reform the UN system, consistent with the Ezulwini Consensus that was agreed upon by the African Union in 2005.
The Ezulwini Consensus’ major thrust was to ensure the continent was equally represented in all structures of the world body.
“The reform of the United Nations system making it more representative, empowered and responsive to fulfil its mandate is long overdue.
“Zimbabwe remains firm on the African position as enunciated by the Ezulwini Consensus,” said President Mnangagwa.
Earlier on, African Union (AU) chairperson and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi had made a similar call, saying the United Nations Security Council ought to be reformed to make it more representative in decision making.
“Speaking of the Security Council, we must seriously address the imbalances in the composition and the shortcomings in the decision making process of the Council.
“We must guarantee a balance in representation in the Security Council. We must work to rectify the historical injustices our continent has been subjected to.
“I reiterate our commitment to the Common Africa position based on the Ezulwini Consensus,” said President El-Sisi.
Meanwhile, University of Johannesburg lecturer Pedzisai Ruhanya says it is high time Africa joins like-minded nations in calling for a seat at the UN security council.
“Africa is the only race which is not represented. Countries like China and Russia can help the continent to get recognition. United Nations is a member state organization and they cannot continuously ignore such a large bloc. UN need reform,” he said.