Sarkozy promotes global African voice

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France and more than 50 African countries have called for an urgent reform of the UN Security Council, and other institutions, so the continent can better be represented in global governance.

At the close of the 25th Africa-France summit in Nice yesterday, France announced plans to ensure African nations are better represented at the G20 when it takes the helm of the group next year.

South Africa is so far the only African state represented in the group of the world's richest economies.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President, stressed that his country, once a colonial ruler in Africa, wants to strengthen its role in all parts of the continent where countries which are traditional outsiders, notably China, are profiting from multibillion-dollar projects.

"France doesn't just want to be friends with Francophone countries... what we want is for France to talk to all of Africa," Mr Sarkozy said at the closing session. The President did away with the traditional "dinner among friends" featured at Africa-France summits, in which only leaders of former colonies are invited.

France has been pressing for a greater voice for Africa in critical international forums, such as the G20 and the UN Security Council, where there are five permanent members with veto rights – and where Africa, which makes up some 25 per cent of UN members, wants a voice.