By Fidel Amakye Owusu

1. The facts that African states guard their juridical sovereignty jealously and are very sensitive to the minutest “intrusion” in their affairs have been mentioned here.

2. All the 54 sovereign states—from the tiniest Islands to the larges—therefore perceive the concept of equality of all states seriously. All states therefore pursue independent foreign policies.

3. While this is theoretically understandable due to the incommunicability of sovereignty, in reality the situation is contributing to geopolitical destabilisation and continental chaos. For Africa to remain stable, and the interdependence between and among states meaningfully realised, stronger countries must be made to take more responsibilities and have much say in regional affairs.

4. How?

5. To start with, while other continental and regional organisations like the European Union have members with equal status as states, in practice and by arrangements, bigger economies and more powerful states have much say and more responsibilities. Germany, France and—before Brexit—the UK had more responsibilities and control in the union.

6. In fact, it is a known fact that in the selection of bureaucrats in Brussels, the most powerful countries often jostle for or dominate the process with their citizens.

7. This could be emulated at the regional organisational levels in Africa. The various regional bodies could allow—per arrangement—the most powerful or bigger economies to be more responsible for regional security and policy.

8. In 2017, when long time ruler of The Gambia refused to uphold election results, ECOWAS forces, led by mainly Senegal and Nigeria moved in to enforce the verdict of the Gambian electorates. This was a rare show of force. Usually, this would be labelled as “political interference”

9. Today, many regions of Africa face insecurity because of the lack of leadership. Smaller states are taking unilateral decisions that have ramifications for entire regions. For the interest of these regions, all states, especially the more powerful ones should be part of decisions that affect collective security.

10. For example, countries like Burkina Faso and Mali should not unilaterally bring in Wagner forces in West Africa without broader regional cooperation. Similarly, Djibouti, a small country, should not unilaterally allow multiple foreign military bases in its territory without the inputs of more powerful regional entities like Ethiopia and Kenya.

11. These notwithstanding, bigger and relatively wealthy states are not powerful in themselves. To have the moral right to exude power beyond their borders, states must be more responsible domestically. Especially, with how they treat their citizens.

12. Many more…

By Fidel Amakye Owusu – International Relations and Security Analyst and Writer

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