South African president Jacob Zuma and his Nigerian counterpart Goodluck Jonathan met this week and downplayed the notion that the countries are in competition for a permanent Security Council seat:
Jonathan told a joint sitting of Parliament that the need to work together was evident in instances like the drive to secure Africa a permanent seat on the United Nations' Security Council.
“If South Africa and Nigeria do not lead that struggle, then who will lead that struggle?” he asked, after denying that Africa's two biggest economies were competing for a position that is still hypothetical.
That notion was “very wrong”, he said.
There are some signs that Security Council reform will soon get another push. Brazil's foreign minister, Antonio Patriota, recently hosted a seminar on the subject in Brazil that included Indian, German, Japanese, and South African diplomats. For other signs of stirring on the issue, see here, here and here. If the slow-moving process does gather pace, the position of the African group at the UN—which includes 54 states—will likely determine whether a reform package can secure the required two-thirds support in the General Assembly.