Namibia must assess its position in a new global order

Niël Terblanché

If Africa maintains unity of purpose and remains united, Namibia as part of the continental family, will emerge victorious in formulating new strategies to mitigate the impact of the changing global order.

To start the process of formulating new strategies, Namibia and Amani Africa, a pan-African policy research, training and consulting think tank with expertise on the African Union system and specialisation in matters of the African Union Peace and Security Council, held a high-level panel discussion in Windhoek to reflect on several strategic level matters about assessing the global state of affairs and its impact on Africa, as well as on matters related to a reformed global conflict management and diplomacy architecture and financial system.

Amani Africa and Namibia initiated the high-level consultative meeting on Africa and the reform of the multilateral system in the changing global order on the sidelines of the February 2023 African Union Summit.

Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Namibia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation officiated at the opening of the discussion and said that the deliberations will chart a clear course of action during the reform of the multilateral system.

“The reform of the multilateral system is a crucial issue for Namibia and the African continent and there is demand for the United Nations to be reformed to ensure regional representation at UN Security Council,” she said.

Nandi-Ndaitwah said that Namibia’s faith in the multilateral system grew from its experience in the war for independence. She added that the Namibian Constitution obligates the State to pursue the policy that encourages the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means.

“We need to reflect deeply and ask ourselves tough questions on the type of multilateral system that would work for us and provide us with sustainable peace to spur socio-economic development,” she said.

According to Nandi-Ndaitwah, Africa remains a formidable bloc of 54 UN Member States plus the Western Sahara.

“We must continue to emphasize the need for an equitable regional representation on the UN Security Council. The UN Charter must be amended to reflect the will and desire for Africa’s Permanent Representation in the Security Council, making it possible for this multilateral body to serve the purpose in the interests of all peoples of the world,” she said.

She added that Namibia as a member of the AU Committee of Ten, Heads of State mandated by the AU Assembly to promote and canvass support for the Common African Position as enshrined in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration, will remain committed to the Common African Position without wavering.

As the issue of the UN reform has and seems to take long, it is important for a body like yours being Africa’s Think Tank on multilateralism to make a deep reflection on the matter 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,” she stated.

She added that in the pursuit of the reform of the UN Security Council to address the historic injustice imposed on Africa by its exclusion from permanent membership and veto power, Africa also needs to consolidate its efforts to share the burden of the multilateral system and contribute to the global public good of international peace and security through the APSA.

Nandi-Ndaitwah said that besides the reform of the international peace and security architecture, it is also important to look at the development system as a whole, particularly the reform of international financial and economic orders.

“I am referring to multilateral bodies such as the World Bank, IMF and the World Trade Organization. There is no doubt that Africa’s resources contribute enormously to global development. However, there is a negative perception towards Africa which is always viewed as a mere supplier of raw materials and not capable of value addition or any development of these materials,” she said. She said that Namibia along with many other African countries has demonstrated that with the right resources and tools, Africans are capable of developing the natural resources they own and have rights to.

“As part of the global village, we must, however, accept the sharing of technology, knowledge, and expertise. That is something most people in the global north seem to be reluctant to do. 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 relation,” she stated.

She added that while Africa has an abundance of resources, the continent and its people have no say or little control in the global financial systems and international trade rules.

“Hence, there is a compelling need to reform the global economic trading and financial systems, to level the playing field. A fairer and more resilient multilateral trading system must be open, rules-based, transparent and non-discriminatory,” she emphasised.

Nandi-Ndaitwah said that while the challenges are not completely new, it is clear that they are bigger in scale, unfolding in the same timeline and tend to reinforce each other.

“The challenges have become clearer at a time of major global power shifts and worrying geopolitical rivalries. These rivalries are not only along old ideological divides but also pit old powers against new powers and major powers against middle powers,” she said. She said that it cannot be the case that Africa is unable to affect change in the global order.

“For the continent of Africa, this would mean that our collective effort should go beyond presenting a good case for securing the interests of Africa. It should also include articulating proposals on how to reform the multilateral system in a way that it also meets the just expectations and needs of the whole of humanity,” she added.

She stated that Africa is capable of going beyond the usual and articulating perspectives of Africans on how humanity can achieve the multilateral system and a world that everyone wants and deserves.

“I firmly believe that if Africa maintains unity of purpose and remains united, the continent will indeed emerge victorious in its quest for a proper place at the table of the family of nations,” Nandi-Ndaitwah stated.

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