Rwandan President Calls For Greater Equality Among Nations in the UN
Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda and chair of the African Union, addressed the United Nations General Assembly last week, calling for more equality among nations in the UN in light of recent positive developments across Africa.
These developments, many of which have occurred over the last 12 months, span economic, political, and peacekeeping progress in several areas of the continent. In his speech, Kagame paid special attention to the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which was drawn up by the African Union (AU) and signed by 44 African heads of state and governmental officials in late March.
The agreement is designed to “accelerate continental integration and address the overlapping membership of the continent’s regional economic communities.”
Another development mentioned by Kagame is the recent cessation of hostilities between the countries in the Horn of Africa, which saw various peace deals end decades of conflict between Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia.
He also mentioned significant political and economic progress being made in Zimbabwe, which has taken a different trajectory since last July when its new leader vowed a “brighter tomorrow” for the country.
In his speech, Kagame highlighted vast enhancements recently made in Africa to demonstrate that the continent is improving and ready to handle more global responsibility. He tasked UN delegates with “changing their perspective of Africa and recognizing recent positive developments on the continent.”
Most significantly, Kagame insisted that there is currently an imbalance of power among the countries in the United Nations that must be resolved.
“The current two-track system of governance where some players are more important than others is not sustainable,” warned Kagame.
“We face serious challenges that must be confronted together. As an international community, we cannot afford to undermine the most capable members by applying standards to some countries that are not applied to others.”
As such, he called for greater collaboration between Africa and the United Nations, insisting that more productive cooperation is critical to achieving progress in peace, environmental safety, gender equality, and women’s empowerment. He also hinted at a reduced need for external mediation and resolution in Africa in the future, although he wants the UN to continue working on resolving crises in the Central African Republic, Libya, and South Sudan.
Kagame stressed that “no country or system ha[s] a monopoly on wisdom, much less a claim on moral superiority.” With this, he emphasized more productive cooperation and recognition of progress as the first of many steps toward Africa’s increased participation in the global system.
“Building a community of shared purpose starts with a recognition of our equality,” he told the UN.