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maunganidze1_SIMON MAINAAFPGetty Images_african union Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images

Africa is Multilateralism’s Secret Champion

Founded on a strong sense of shared identity and driven by common interests, Africa’s commitment to multilateralism is a force to be reckoned with – or, at least, it can be. With international institutions under unprecedented strain, unlocking Africa’s potential as a champion of multilateralism is in everyone’s interest.

PRETORIA – African countries’ commitment to multilateralism has often gone unnoticed. But, at a time when the world is increasingly turning its back on shared institutions, this could change, with Africa emerging as a vocal – and empowered – champion of multilateralism at the regional, continental, and global levels.

African countries have long recognized multilateralism’s integral role in fostering development, prosperity, and peace. That is why, beyond supporting global efforts – such as the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the G77 – Africa established the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963. From the 1960s to the 1990s, multilateral initiatives provided critical support for African countries, as they escaped colonialism and ended apartheid.

The OAU’s successor, the African Union (AU), embodies the widely held conviction that global cooperation and regional integration are continental imperatives. A pillar of global multilateralism, the 55-member organization is particularly effective at the UN General Assembly, where sheer numbers are key to getting motions passed.

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