Friday | 24 May 2024

The African Union (AU) is granted G20 Membership

The September 2023 G20 Summit, held in India, has welcomed the African Union (AU) into the fold as a new permanent member.

To this point, South Africa has been the single G20 black majority representative. Now, stepping up from its current designation of “invited international organisation”, the AU becomes the second multi-state organisation within the G20, following the European Union.

Consisting of 55 member states across the entire African continent – the globe’s largest free trade area – the AU now has a position within arguably the world’s most influential global governance body.

In a statement issued on the final day of the Summit, held in New Delhi, the G20 declared: “We welcome the African Union as a permanent member of the G20 and strongly believe that inclusion of the African Union into the G20 will significantly contribute to addressing the global challenges of our time.”

Reuters have reported that AU membership will actually be formalised next year, when Brazil takes over the presidency of the G20 from India.

In June, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had written to the leaders of the G20 nations proposing that the AU be granted full, permanent membership of the bloc during the Indian summit. This has now come to pass. Other countries including Germany, Brazil, South Africa and Canada have also voiced support for African Union membership.

“Today, as the president of G20, India calls upon the world to come together to transform the global trust deficit into one of trust and reliance,” said Prime Minister Modi.

“This is the time for all of us to move together… Be it the divide between North and South, the distance between the East and West, management of food and fuel, terrorism, cyber security, health, energy or water,” he continued. “I invite the representative of the African Union to take his place as a permanent member of the G20,” Modi announced.

Discernible shift in the global economic order

With its permanent G20 seat confirmed, it is expected that the AU will continue to demonstrate that Africa is an active player in the bloc’s growth, as well as being an independent voice on global issues.

Press reports had noted that the Summit’s theme, “One Earth, One Family, One Future”, reflected “a discernible shift in the global economic order.”

It comes at a time when many western countries are moving towards greener, more sustainable economies. For this to happen, it will require greater reliance on the raw materials, which are predominantly sourced from countries within the AU trading bloc.

In addition, Africa’s burgeoning population growth and the effects on African immigration in the West, together with its growing cultural influences in areas such as food, arts and music, “has made the AU and its members far more impactful globally” according to Forbes Magazine.

Included within the G20’s announcement, reference was made to the principles of sustainable development and inclusive growth, which form a key part of Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want. This is an economic blueprint and master plan, authored by African leaders, which aims at transforming Africa into a future global player.

“Africa plays an important role in the global economy,” the G20 Leaders’ Declaration said. “We commit to strengthen our ties with and support the African Union to realise the aspirations under Agenda 2063.”

Currently home to a growing and youthful population of 1.3 billion citizens, it is projected that by 2050, Africa will account for a quarter of the planet’s population.

Africa produces 60% of the world’s renewable resources and is home to 30% of the minerals required for carbon technologies and the emerging green economy.

It’s reported that now the AU has a G20 seat, it will also help Africa to shape how global economic leaders tackle food price increases and the impact this is having on less developed nations, following the Ukraine war.

With the next head-of-state G20 meeting being staged in 2024, the big question now is how the world’s leading economies will react to this influential, population and resource-heavy new member.

G20 set to grant membership to African Union, sources say | Reuters

The African Union Joins the G20 as a Permanent Member (forbes.com) The African Union Joins the G20 as a Permanent Member (forbes.com)

African Union officially joins G20 as permanent member | Business Insider Africa