The think-tank Amani Africa, together with the Namibian Government, have initiated a two-day high-level meeting on Africa for the reform of the multilateral system in the changing global order.
This consultation meeting will reflect on a number of strategic-level matters in relation to the reform of the multilateral systems in Africa.
Speaking at the official opening, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, says it is important that Africa identify its priorities and vision in a reformed system and how Africa can drive these changes to mend the cracks in the UN-based multilateral order.
"As the issue of UN reform has and seems to take a long time, it is important for a body like yours, Africa's Think Tank on Multilateralism, to make a deep reflection on the matter in order to sharpen the AU negotiation team. We must not allow Africa to be undermined and be told that our demands are unrealistic while at the same time the historical injustice done to Africa continues unabated."
Besides the reform of the international peace and security architecture, Nandi-Ndaitwah says it is also important to look at the development system as a whole, particularly the reform of international financial and economic orders and institutions.
"I am referring to multilateral bodies such as the World Bank, IMF, and the World Trade Organisation. There is no doubt that Africa's resources contribute enormously to global development. However, there is a negative perception of Africa, which is always viewed as a mere supplier of raw materials and not capable of value addition or any development of these materials. Therefore, there is a need to reflect on how African resources are used to develop other nations. It is highly important to determine the needs of the African continent and to come up with workable proposals to address this unfair relationship."
She added that while Africa has abundant resources, the continent has little say in and little control over the global financial systems and international trade rules.
Hence, there is a compelling need to reform a fairer and more resilient multilateral trading system that is open, rule-based, transparent, and non-discriminatory.
"I believe that we are capable of going beyond the usual and mobilising such thinking. This particular gathering and the process we have embarked on is meant to help us rise to this challenge and articulate perspectives from the people of Africa on how humanity can achieve the multilateral system and a world that we all want and deserve."
Amani Africa Media and Research Services is an independent pan-African policy research, training, and consulting think tank with expertise on the African Union system and a specialisation in the AU Peace and Security Council.