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Chinese FM Urges Greater African Global Voice

China's Foreign Minister, Qin Gang, left, and African Union Commission (AUC) chair Moussa Faki Mahamat attend the inauguration of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Wednesday Jan. 11, 2023.

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said Wednesday that Africa should have a greater voice in the U.N. Security Council and other international bodies, long a demand of the continent's leaders. 

Qin made the call in a statement issued as he met the head of the African Union Commission who voiced frustration at what he said was the exclusion of Africa from international governance.

"We should boost the representation and voice of developing countries, especially those of African countries, in the U.N. Security Council and other international organizations," Qin said at the inauguration of the Chinese-funded headquarters for the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa.

AU Commission chief Moussa Mahamat Faki said it was unfair that the African continent did not have a permanent seat on the top world body.

"For several decades now we have been fighting for a reform of the international system as a whole and particularly on behalf of the United Nations Security Council," he said.

The U.N. Security Council is made up of 15 members, five of whom are permanent and have veto-wielding power: the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain.

The other 10 positions are filled by other countries for two-year stints, five of which are announced each year.

Qin, who is on his first overseas visit as foreign minister, rallied countries to work together "to make the global governance system more just and equitable."

"Africa should be a platform for international cooperation, not an arena for competition between major countries," he said.

Qin is on a week-long tour of Africa and will also visit Gabon, Angola, Benin and Egypt. He met Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday.

The African Union has sought to shake up its relations with the world and has called for two permanent African members on the powerful council, saying African issues make up most of the council's business.

President Joe Biden in September last year said the United States would back permanent seats for Africa and Latin America in addition to previous support to include Japan and India.

Biden also backed a permanent African Union role in the Group of 20 leading economies and said he was planning a visit — the first by a US president since 2015 — to sub-Saharan Africa.