During the opening session of the two-day G20 Summit, the African Union (AU) received an official invitation to join the Group of 20 largest economies (G20) as a permanent member. This momentous declaration was made by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, marking a significant stride towards a more inclusive and equitable global economic landscape.
The Vision of Inclusivity
Prime Minister Modi, in his opening remarks at the G20 Summit, underlined the importance of inclusivity, expressing India’s proposal to grant permanent membership to the African Union within the G20. He emphasized the principle of “sabka saath” demonstrating India’s commitment to ensuring that the voices of all nations, especially those in the Global South, are heard and considered on the global stage.
The AU Takes Its Seat
Following Prime Minister Modi’s announcement, Union of Comoros President and AU Chairperson Azali Assoumani assumed his seat as a full member of the G20. This marked a moment of pride and triumph for the African Union, as it secured its place among the world’s most influential economies.
India’s Persistent Advocacy
India’s role in championing the AU’s membership in the G20 cannot be understated. Prime Minister Modi has consistently advocated for the AU’s inclusion in the group, positioning India as a leading voice for the concerns, challenges, and aspirations of the Global South, particularly the African continent. This diplomatic effort culminated in Modi’s formal proposal to G20 leaders in June, which found its way into the draft communique for the G20 Summit following the third G20 Sherpas meeting in July.
The Significance of the African Union
The African Union, comprising 55 member states from across the African continent, wields substantial influence in regional and global affairs. Its permanent membership in the G20 reflects the increasing recognition of Africa’s economic and geopolitical importance. Prime Minister Modi, in an exclusive interview, emphasized that Africa remains a top priority for India, highlighting India’s commitment to the inclusion of voices that have historically been underrepresented in global decision-making.
The G20: A Brief Overview
The G20, established in 1999 in response to various world economic crises, is a forum that brings together the world’s leading economies to discuss and address global economic challenges. The G20 member countries collectively represent approximately 85% of the global GDP, over 75% of global trade, and around two-thirds of the world’s population. The inclusion of the African Union strengthens the G20’s role as a platform for addressing global economic issues comprehensively.