The Summit not only marked a new beginning in the relationship between the UN and the AU, but also signalled a new understanding of the relationship between the UN and Africa, and its nations and people. UNSG Antonio Guterres made that univocally clear at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, in January of this year.
Africa faces many interrelated challenges such as keeping the peace, developing its economies, managing migration, and countering terrorism and crime: 7 out of 14 peacekeeping operations in the world are deployed in Africa; 33 African countries are classified as least developed (out of 47); 30% of Africa’s population is internally displaced; and transnational organized crime and terrorism are on the rise on the African continent.
Within the new partnership between the UN and the AU; between the world and Africa, possibilities may arise for new approaches to development, new roles for African states and organisations, new socio-economic and political solutions. Whatever these solutions are, they must be – to use the words of UNSG Guterres: “Africa owned, Africa-driven and Africa-led.”