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African Union set to be G20 Member during New Delhi’s presidency

New Delhi, September 08: The G20 member nations are set to admit the African Union (AU) as a new member of the grouping, at par with the European Union (EU), with an announcement expected during the summit to be hosted by New Delhi over this weekend.

This decision, though not yet public, was a result of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi writing to the leaders of the G20 member nations in June, proposing full and permanent membership for the African Union (AU) in the grouping.

The G20, consisting of 19 countries and the European Union, was established in 1999 following the Asian financial crisis. It collectively accounts for approximately 85% of global GDP, over 75% of global trade, and represents about two-thirds of the world’s population.

However, the current composition of the G20 reflects regional disparities. G20 has only one African country as a member, South Africa, while there are five countries from Europe, as well as the European Union.

The AU’s inclusion in this influential economic and diplomatic grouping will mark a significant step towards a just, fair, more representative, and inclusive global architecture.

The African Union, established in 2001 as a regional bloc, comprising 55 member states has a population of over 1.3 billion and a combined GDP of $3.14 trillion, collectively making it the 7th largest economy.

The AU already holds permanent observer status at the United Nations General Assembly, further emphasizing its global relevance.

President Macky Sall of Senegal, who currently chairs the AU, previously advocated for the African Union’s inclusion in the G20.

He highlighted the adverse consequences of Africa’s limited representation within the group and stressed the necessity for a more equitable and inclusive global governance framework.

This proposition has been supported by many countries including the USA, China, France, and Indonesia.

India’s rise as the Voice of the Global South

Prime Minister Modi’s active lobbying for AU’s admission to the G20 underscored India’s dedicated efforts to become a Voice of the Global South on the global platform.

Moreover, this active support is in line with India’s traditional policy of supporting Africa’s participation in global affairs and ensuring Africa’s active engagement in major economic decision-making processes.

Earlier this year, India hosted the inaugural “Voice of Global South Summit,” gathering representatives from over 120 developing and underdeveloped countries.

The summit aimed to identify the priorities and concerns of the Global South, with the intention of incorporating them into the G20 agenda for the year, during the Indian presidency of the G20.

New Delhi is firmly pushing for the greater participation and empowerment of Global South countries, particularly those from Africa, on international platforms.

India’s rise as the “Voice” of the Global South is evident through its endeavors to represent the interests of developing nations in various multilateral institutions, including the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and climate negotiations.

Analysts suggest that the inclusion of the African Union in the G20, under India’s presidency could give India an advantageous position in the Global South’s leadership contestation with China which is considered as a “banker” of the Global South.

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