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G20: It’s time for Africa

This gives India a unique opportunity to steer the agenda and create a more diverse and representative platform, aligning perfectly with India’s own global aspirations to foster a multipolar world…reports Asian Lite News

Amidst the various endorsements that the African Union (AU) has received for its G20 membership bid, India’s support stands out for several compelling reasons. First, it further solidifies India’s status as a key player in global governance and as a nation that champions inclusivity and diversity on the international stage.

While some have pointed towards China’s growing influence in Africa and how that could translate into power play at the G20, when asked India’s G20 Sherpa, Amitabh Kant said, “PM was very clear that we have to, after all, they comprise of 55 countries and you need to make G20 far more inclusive. G20 is not like G7. It comprises both developed and developing countries or emerging countries. Look at Africa, six of the fastest growing 12 nations are from Africa. So, you need to make them a part if the world is going to grow on that side. If the word is going to grow in these regions, then you need to make them a part of the G20.”

Secondly, India and Africa have a long history of cooperation, from trade and education to healthcare and technology. India’s initiative to back the AU’s G20 bid is a natural progression of this partnership, making it more than just symbolic—it’s strategic. This echoes India’s role in the Pan-African e-Network Project and the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme, both of which underscore the commitment to sharing resources and knowledge with African nations.

Third, India’s endorsement carries weight within the G20 framework, particularly given its burgeoning economy and geopolitical influence. As a BRICS member alongside Brazil, Russia, China, and South Africa, India’s backing is likely to influence other nations that are still sitting on the fence.

Fourth, India’s proposal to add the AU comes at a time when the country holds the presidency of the G20. This gives India a unique opportunity to steer the agenda and create a more diverse and representative platform, aligning perfectly with India’s own global aspirations to foster a multipolar world.

Finally, India’s backing adds momentum to the push for a more inclusive G20, a move that reflects a broader shift in the world order. As countries in the Global South continue to rise in prominence, it’s essential that institutions like the G20 adapt to become more reflective of today’s diverse global landscape.

India’s support for the African Union’s entry into the G20 is a landmark moment in international diplomacy. It not only strengthens the AU’s bid but also enhances India’s standing as a global leader advocating for a more equitable and representative international order. This aligns well with the ethos of the G20, which seeks to address the challenges of the global economy. Thus, India’s proposal serves as a pioneering step forward, heralding a future where inclusivity and collective wisdom drive global decisions.

The African Union’s decision to formally request membership in the G20 marks a pivotal moment in the landscape of international governance. Adopted in February 2023 during the AU Summit, led by Macky Sall, President of Senegal and then AU Chairperson, this decision embodies the continent’s aspiration to participate more actively in shaping global policies. The Summit eloquently conveyed the imperative for Africa’s increased role in global decision-making processes.

The majority of G20 members have publicly endorsed the AU’s bid for membership. India’s Prime Minister Modi wholeheartedly supported this endeavor, confirming India’s long-standing partnership with the AU and Africa at large. Among the G20 member states, many have publicly backed the AU’s entry, while some have not expressed their position.

Proponents argue that the AU’s inclusion would make the G20 more representative and thereby boost its credibility. The G20, which currently represents 65% of the world’s population, would then speak for about 80% of global citizens. Janet Yellen, US Treasury Secretary, emphasized during her Africa visit that “any serious solution requires African leadership and voices.” She articulated why the United States, among other nations, firmly supports AU’s bid.

The benefits for Africa are clear. Membership in the G20 would give African nations a direct say in tackling major global challenges, including economic growth, climate change, and sustainable development. The AU has already announced that its representation in the G20 would be led by its current chairperson, assisted by the AU Commission Chairperson.

While some critics feel that India has been slow to formally propose Africa’s invitation to the G20, it is evident that the groundwork has been laid for this significant move. “This was the PM’s vision. It was his perspective, his reason, his outlook, that India must be the voice of the Global South. And the PM (Modi) had spoken about this earlier in Bali as well. And the first thing he did was that we wrote to all the leaders of G20 that India would like the AU to be a permanent member. That has had a very positive and overwhelming response, and the issue is being discussed. But broadly, there’s been a very good response to the PM’s proposal. It’s his vision,” Amitabh Kant told India Today.

As the G20 Summit on September 9 approaches, the collective will of the G20 member states should be harnessed to create a consensus supporting the AU’s membership. This would not only be a win for Africa but also for the G20, making it more inclusive and effective.

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