The United Nations has been more involved in Africa than in any other continent. Seven of the original eleven UN Trust Territories were in Africa, but by 1961 six had passed out of trusteeship. Somalia (12), French Togo and Cameroons became sovereign republics in 1960; British Togo was merged with Ghana; British Cameroons was divided, its north joining Nigeria, its south the ex-French Cameroons (19, 21). Tanganyika's independence was fixed for December 1961 (30), while Ruanda-Urundi remained under Belgian UN trusteeship, but not, it seemed, for long (26).
The fate of other ex-Italian dependencies as well as Somalia was decided by the UN, Eritrea being federated with Ethiopia (II), Libya becoming independent (4). UN technical assistance has increasingly flowed to new African states, and the UN has set up an Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) with headquarters in Addis Ababa and a Sudanese, Mekki Abbas, as secretary.
Before Tunisia and Morocco became independent, their case was brought to the UN Assembly by the Asian and Arab countries, which also raised the question of Algeria, despite French claims that this was a domestic matter (1-4). Portugal has unsuccessfully opposed UN discussions about its African territories (34). South Africa has refused to accept UN trusteeship for South-West Africa (37). Its racial policy has been condemned in the Assembly (36, 38).
Apart from South Africa the only UN members in Africa in 1945 were Egypt, Ethiopia and Liberia. Now there are 28 African members, 19 of which became UN members in 1960-1. Thus Africa casts over a quarter of the Assembly's votes.
Since the Sinai-Suez conflict of 1956 (7), an international UN Emergency Force (UNEF), 5,000 strong, has helped to keep the peace on the Egypt-Israel border. A larger UN force, mainly African, was sent to the ex-Belgian Congo in 1960 (23), where UN civilian assistance and famine relief also helped to meet the administrative and economic breakdown. Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan and Tunisia provided troops for the UN Congo force, as well as India, Ireland, Malaya and Sweden. ( Guinea, Mali, Morocco and the United Arab Republic sent contingents, but later withdrew them, objecting to the way things were going). African (and Asian) UN members have played major roles in UN efforts to reconcile the Congo rivals.