UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon in Stockholm on March 30th, 2016. UN Photo Eskinder Debebe

What can Sweden do for Africa and Africa for Sweden in the UN?


The Swedish government should involve the African diaspora in Sweden to secure the support of African countries in the UN. It also needs to clarify in what ways Sweden’s feminist foreign policy is compatible with African values of respect and dignity for womanhood. These are a couple of policy recommendations, given by researcher Victor Adetula, on how Sweden could improve relations with African countries and succeed in its ambitions to achieve the sustainable development goals of Agenda 2030.

In a new policy note, Victor Adetula, Head of Research at the Nordic Africa Institute, analyses what Africa stands to gain if Sweden succeeds in its bid for a seat in the United Nations’ Security Council (UNSC). He believes that the dominant official conception of a strong link between Swedish development assistance and international support for her bid for UNSC membership should not be overstressed.

"Remarkably, Africa’s relationship with the EU and other donors has come under serious pressure since the end of the Cold War. Differences over human rights, political conditionality and aid effectiveness, with which Sweden is strongly associated, have given rise to concerns on both sides. While Sweden may have reason to remain committed to its positions, it is also important to recognise the sensitivities of certain African governments on these issues. The Swedish government needs to clarify its feminist foreign policy", he argues.

Adetula also stresses that, longer term, there is a need for more organised bilateral and multilateral engagement with African countries using both traditional diplomatic channels and other avenues.

"For example, Sweden has a significant African Diaspora population, which can be involved in order to secure the support of African countries", says Victor Adetula.

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