Europe has prospered since the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) expansion. NATO promotes security, cooperation, and a peaceful and unified Europe. The North Atlantic Treaty’s Article 10 (1949) underpins NATO’s “open door policy.” The Treaty allows any “European state in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area” to join NATO. It requires “unanimous agreement” on enlargement.
European nations seeking NATO membership are asked to begin an intensified dialogue with the alliance about their goals and reforms. Aspirants may then join the membership action plan, which prepares states for membership. Participation prepares but does not ensure membership.
The 1995 Study on Enlargement requires states to respect the North Atlantic Treaty and meet political, economic, and military criteria to join the Alliance. These criteria include a functioning democratic political system based on a market economy; fair treatment of minority populations; a commitment to peaceful conflict resolution; an ability and willingness to contribute militarily to NATO operations; and a commitment to democratic civil-military relations and institutions.
Can an African Country Join NATO?
No, an African country cannot join NATO because it is a regional defence alliance formed to provide collective protection for North American and European countries. Its membership is limited to countries in the North Atlantic region who have been asked to join the alliance.
There are no African countries in the North Atlantic region, which usually refers to the area surrounding the North Atlantic Ocean, which is bounded to the west by North America, to the east by Europe, and to the north by the Arctic. The African continent is located south of the North Atlantic, and its countries do not come within the geographical scope of the North Atlantic region. As a result, no African countries are qualified to become members of the organisation.
While African countries cannot join NATO, they can engage in the alliance’s various partnership programmes with countries that are not members. NATO, for example, has partnerships with several African nations, including Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania, and Tunisia. These collaborations seek to promote cooperation and dialogue on topics like terrorism, crisis management, and capacity building.
NATO has been assisting the African Union (AU) since 2005. The NATO-AU partnership began modestly, with the AU requesting logistics and airlift assistance for its mission in Sudan. Since then, the partnership has evolved. One of the partnership’s primary goals is to improve African nations’ capacity to manage and resolve conflicts through the African Standby Force (ASF) and the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC). NATO assists these African-led initiatives by sharing expertise, training, and performing joint exercises.
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