The African Union Joins the G20: A Step Towards Inclusive Global Governance

In a landmark decision, the African Union (AU) has been welcomed as a permanent member of the influential G20 group of major economies and emerging markets. The announcement was made by Indian Prime Minister Narendara Modi during the opening of the G20 summit in New Delhi, as India currently holds the group’s presidency.

“I invite the chairman of the African Union to take his seat as a permanent member of the G20,” said Modi, as he extended an invitation to President Azali Assoumani of Comoros, the current chair of the AU. Assoumani warmly embraced Modi, symbolizing the significance of this inclusion.

This move not only strengthens the role of the global South but also underlines India’s aspirations to be a leader among nations from this region. The inclusion of the African Union as a permanent member of the G20 is seen as a noteworthy achievement for Prime Minister Modi.

Until now, the European Union, with its 27 member states, was the only regional organization represented in the G20. The AU comprises all internationally recognized African countries, including the controversial Western Sahara, totaling 55 states. With a population of around 1.3 billion people, the AU represents the interests of the most populous and fastest-growing region in the world. Projections estimate that Africa’s population could reach 2.5 billion by 2050, significantly surpassing the current population of approximately 450 million in the EU.

The decision to include the African Union as a member of the G20 has been met with enthusiasm and support from European Union leadership. EU Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have both welcomed this development. Von der Leyen expressed her joy, stating, “It is a pleasure to welcome the African Union as a new member of the G20.”

The G20 is a crucial forum for international economic cooperation, bringing together the world’s 19 largest economies alongside the European Union. While initially focused on economic matters, the G20 has expanded its agenda to include global issues such as counterterrorism, climate change, and conflicts. Amidst the backdrop of the ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine, the G20 serves as one of the few remaining platforms for direct engagement between Western countries and Russia.

The inclusion of the African Union as a permanent member of the G20 is a significant step towards fostering inclusive global governance. It acknowledges the growing importance of Africa in the global economy and ensures that the voices and perspectives of African nations are heard on critical international matters.

This development presents new opportunities for collaboration, economic progress, and development initiatives within the G20 framework. The African Union, with its rich diversity and vast resources, brings a unique perspective to the table, which can contribute to shaping more comprehensive and effective global policies.

As the G20 continues to evolve and address various challenges facing the world, the inclusion of the African Union sends a powerful message of unity, cooperation, and mutual respect. It highlights the increasing recognition of the importance of inclusive decision-making processes that represent the diverse interests and aspirations of nations worldwide.

Ultimately, the admission of the African Union into the prestigious G20 group is a significant milestone towards creating a more equitable and representative global governance system. It paves the way for stronger collaboration between African nations and the rest of the world, fostering sustainable development, and ensuring a more prosperous future for all.