â€œI am convinced that we canâ€™t talk about big global questions without Africa any longer,â€ Sarkozy told about 800 delegates from 40 African states.
â€œThe Security Council must be reformed and itâ€™s not normal that Africa does not have a member of the Security Council.â€
African nations have asked for two rotating permanent seats since 2005, given the continent has about 27 percent of members at the United Nations, its size and the involvement of global powers on its territory.
China, the United States, Russia, Britain and France are the permanent members of the Council. Nigeria, Gabon and Uganda are among 10 members that hold rotating seats.
Without saying exactly what France would favour, Sarkozy said: â€œFrance, when it takes over the G8 and G20 (next year), will push towards this (reform).â€
The G8 is made up of leading rich nations, while the G20 also includes other big economies. South Africa is Africaâ€™s only G20 member.
Security Council reform has been held up until now with the â€œUnited for Consensusâ€ group led by Italy, Argentina, Pakistan and Mexico wanting the Council to be expanded only to additional non-permanent members.
In 2005, the African Union adopted the â€œEzulwini consensusâ€, which advocates reserving two permanent seats with veto power as well as more non-permanent seats for Africa.
France is pushing for a reform proposed previously with the United Kingdom whereby non-permanent membership on the Security Council would be raised to 10 years instead of two now, without the right of veto, a French diplomatic source said.
President Sarkozy discussed this option with South African President Jacob Zuma at lunch on Monday encouraging him to discuss the Franco-British proposal with his African colleagues, the source said.
â€œItâ€™s the best way to move quickly towards a reform of the the Security Council,â€ the diplomat said.
France is trying to claw back economic influence in Africa as it welcomes some 40 government leaders to a summit that for the first time includes heads of top French companies such as energy giant Total and nuclear firm Areva.
The two-day summit will feature a specific session among the leaders discussing Africaâ€™s place in global governance.
Congo Republicâ€™s President Denis Sassou Nguesso said earlier on Monday he believed the world had to give Africa two seats as it could no longer manage crises under a system used since the Second World War.
â€œWe agree that two permanent seats on the Security Council (are needed) for Africa and I am persuaded that the world cannot manage these sort of crises without Africa,â€ he told reporters.