Last Updated: September 08, 2023, 12:41 IST
The African Union (AU) is set to join the G20, with negotiators reportedly agreeing to clear the bloc’s membership. The same has reportedly been included in the draft leaders’ declaration that is being negotiated by the G20 states.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been pitching for including the African Union in the G20, writing to the leaders of the 20 nations in June, seeking the full membership of the AU at the New Delhi summit. Weeks later, the proposal was formally included in the draft communique for the summit during the third G20 Sherpas meeting that took place in Karnataka’s Hampi in July.
A final decision on the proposal would be taken at the G20 summit. The African Union (AU) is an influential organisation comprising 55 member states that make up the countries of the African continent. It will now be the second regional grouping after the European Union in an expanded G20.
According to Indian officials, AU’s inclusion in the G20 would help “leave a lasting imprint” of the Indian presidency.
China has expressed its support for the inclusion of the African Union (AU) in G20. It, however, said that it is the “first country to explicitly support” the inclusion of the African bloc in the grouping, betraying reluctance in acknowledging India’s diplomatic feat at a time when President Xi Jinping is skipping attendance at the summit.
India’s Global South agenda and the inclusion of the African Union has also diversified the G20’s priorities. While disagreements around the mention of the Russia-Ukraine war in the joint statement continue — with Russia walking back on the language it agreed to during the Bali Summit, where it was mentioned that “most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine” and China asserting the same view in the face of an unwavering G7 — there is a strong chance that both sides may come to an agreement at the eleventh hour, at the interest of India and in support of its selfless and unprecedented efforts to represent the voice of the Global South.
India’s G20 Presidency will go down in history as an exemplary show of global leadership during a geopolitical crisis. Here’s a look at how India-Africa ties will benefit from the inclusion of the African Union into the G20:
- African Union’s entry will redefine the G20 from an exclusive club to an inclusive one, devoted to the cause of the Global South, where more than 85% of the world resides.
- For India, strong ties with the African Union can be a force multiplier in the United Nations, with the bloc wielding its voting power in the UN general assembly. India is seen as trustworthy compared to China, France, the US, and Europe.
- India has completed 197 projects, 65 are under execution and 81 are in the pre-execution stage in Africa. India can seek to win more development contracts and business opportunities in African nations.
- India has extended over $12.37 billion in concessional loans to Africa. India does not practise debt-trap diplomacy, and this move will go further to cultivate goodwill.
- Africa’s burgeoning market is an open opportunity for Indian businesses. In 2022-23, trade stood at $98 billion rising from $89 billion the previous year. It will soon cross $100 billion.
- Currently, India runs a trade deficit with Africa. That can be balanced out as India deepens its roots in the continent.
- Africa is home to about 30 percent of the world’s mineral reserves, 12 percent of the world’s oil and 8 percent of the world’s natural gas reserves. Access to its mineral reserves will help bolster India’s manufacturing of electronic goods.
- The continent also holds 40 percent of the world’s gold and up to 90 percent of its chromium and platinum – both valuable metals. India can collaborate with African powers to ethically tap into these resources, setting the right example amid exploitative tactics used by other powers.
Prime Minister Modi has steered a highly polarised world in a positive direction in favour of the underrepresented majority. In his interview with Moneycontrol, PM Modi had said, “When it comes to the Global South, these are countries with which we empathise. Since we too are part of the developing world, we understand their aspirations. At every forum including the G20, India has been raising the concerns of the countries of the Global South.”
“As soon as we became the President of the G20, we held the Voice of Global South Summit, which made it clear that we were a voice for the inclusion of those who felt excluded from the global discourse and institutional priorities,” he added.