Non-alignment may be defined as non-commitment of a nation to either the West or the East on any international issue. It is mostly associated with neutrality in the face of mounting tension in the world, especially, between the super powers in the era of cold war. Non-alignment is a foreign policy orientation which allows nations (especially the third world countries) to discuss and assess international issues objectively not considering whether the West or the East has anything to offer.



It is an international movement drawn from different countries of the world and mostly third world countries in Africa, Latin America, the caribbean, Asia, Europe etc. The major aim of this movement is the adoption of a nonconfrontational posture or approach to world issues. The founding fathers of this movement – Josef Tito of Yugoslavia, Jawarahal Nehru of India, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt etc. They met in Yugoslavia between 18th and 19th of June, 1956 to discuss the rising tension in the world and the effect of this to world peace and security. Also, it was a reaction to the Soviet Union and the United States of America as the two greatest world powers and subsequently, the emergence of the era of the cold war between the super powers. The coming together of 25 states at the conference called by Tito in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1961, eventually saw the formation of Non-aligned movement. Currently, there are 113 nations making up the movement.

However, people see this movement differently from other organisations of international repute like the U.N.O. Non-aligned Movement has no charter or organs that are supposed to play key roles in the activities of the movement. However, indications are that moves are being made for the creation of important organs or institutions. The creation of the post of a chairman and the holding of the summit every three years etc are pointers to this fact.



  1. Elimination in its entirety of all traces of colonialism, racial segregation, neocolonialism, especially in Third World Countries.
  2. Arms race: Mounting opposition to issues about arms race and nuclear weapons and to garner support for the elimination of war heads and disarmament.
  3. Dispute resolution: To support every move at resolutions of disputes among nations.
  4. Interaction of states: To create an avenue for states to interact freely within the comity of Nations.
  5. Political and economic goals: To allow nations pursue their economic and political policies without any interference from either the East or the West.
  6. International issues: To create opportunities for discussion and assessment of international issues objectively.
  7. Division of the world: To strongly oppose the East and West ideological divide and the division of the world into two opposing blocs. The West represents U.S.A. and Western European countries (capitalism) and the East represents Russia and Eastern European Countries (communism)
  8. Territorial integrity: To allow nations work towards safeguarding their territorial integrity and non-interference in the sovereignty of states.
  9. Global peace: To work and co-operate with other international bodies or organisations for peace and security, globally.



  1. International groupings: The formation of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (N.A.T.O.) and Warsaw pact in 1949 and 1955 respectively.
  2. Arms race: The era of cold war and the accumulation of warheads and weapons of mass destruction by some of the big powers.
  3. Bi-polarization of the world: The opposition of bi-polarization of the world by Nehru of India and Tito of Yugoslavia.
  4. The aspiration and desire of independent states: Most of these newly independent states expressed their desire to engage and pursue their economic, political and other developments without external interference from either the West or the East.
  5. Globalization: To be involved on issues of global dimension without having anything at stake with either of the super powers.
  6. Consolidation of sovereignty: The desire of most independent states, especially in Africa, Asia, Latin America etc to fortify and consolidate their sovereignty after long period of colonial rule, racial segregation and discrimination by some of the Western powers, e.g. Britain and France.
  7. The independence of India in 1947: This development encouraged territories struggling for self-rule, especially, in Africa, Asia etc.



  1. World economic order: This body has cooperated and helped towards restructuring the international economic order.
  2. Stood against colonialism: This movement has stood against colonialism and neo colonialist tendencies in third world countries.
  3. Opposition to policies of IMF: It has also been opposing economic policies of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and its operations in developing countries. Most African states and governments are puppets to IMF.
  4. Playing a big role in international politics: This movement had and is still playing this crucial role in international politics. For example, the Middle East — Israel and Palestine.
  5. Colonialism: It has spoken and condemned outright apartheid policy in South Africa and encouraged other territories agitating for independence and freedom from their erstwhile colonial masters.
  6. Disarmament: It has supported every move to bring to an end the arms race between the super powers.
  7. Growth in membership: The membership today stands at 113, making it an important body, playing crucial roles in international politics.
  8. Co-operation with the U.N.O: This movement is working and co-operating with the U.N.O. in achieving world peace and security.
  9. Division of the world: It has always opposed the division of the world into capitalist and socialist blocs.
  10. Supported sanctions: It had always supported sanctions against South Africa over its aparthied policies by voting courageously in support of its dissolution.



The following are the major problems facing the movement:

  1. This body has no features of a well defined international body: e.g. a charter, organs or institutions of a well established international body.
  2. Poverty: The majority, if not all members of the movement are poor. Some members, therefore, have to dance to the tune of either the West or the East for one form of assistance or the other.
  3. No military set-up: It has no military establishment of its own to enforce or compel obedience to its resolutions.
  4. Failure to remain neutral: Non-aligned movement was supposed to be a neutral body but ironically, it could not live up to this ideal.
  5. Differences in ideological stance: Some states are for capitalism and others for socialism. This has been affecting the reality of the movement and the objectives it avowed to uphold.
  6. The control of IMF and World Bank: The control of these two international banks by developed nations is affecting the policy of the movement. Economies of some members of the movement are in shambles and their going to World Bank or IMF means that they should be ready to obey their conditionalities.
  7. Different cultural background: The problems facing this movement are sometimes complex and difficult to tackle because the composition of the movement shows that they are people of different cultural background, history, political systems, beliefs etc.
  8. Test of military prowess: Members are competing among themselves to acquire better weapons of modern warfare. Not only that, even building nuclear war heads. A case in point is between India and Pakistan. Both countries recently tested their nuclear capabilities.
  9. Fear of domination: There is the fear of domination being expressed, especially, by the poor states against the richer ones. This can affect the existence of oneness among them, because they exist in suspicion and fear.



Nigeria, joined non-aligned movement in 1964 and the following are some of the reasons for adopting the principle,

  1. To interact and co-operate freely: Nigeria adopted this policy in order to cooperate and interact freely with any nation within the comity of nations.
  2. To pursue its economic and political policies without any dictation or interference: It was also adopted in order to allow Nigeria to pursue her economic and political policies without dictation or interference from either the East or the West.
  3. The mouthpiece of Africa: Nigeria would be able to concentrate on issues affecting Africa since it regards itself as the mouthpiece of Africa on international issues. For example, recognition of MPLA in the Angolan crisis and the nationalization of BP now (AP) and Barclays Bank now (Union Bank).
  4. Sovereignty: In order to guide and protect the sovereignty of Nigeria.
  5. To give the leaders a free hand: In putting the interests of the country above any other considerations in foreign policy decisions.

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