US, EU Back African Union’s Bid to Join G20

US, EU Back African Union’s Bid to Join G20

Bennett   Oghifo

The African Union looks set to become the newest member of the G20, officials said yesterday, as the bloc’s bid won backing from existing members gathered for a summit in India.

G20 host and Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, called for the pan-African organisation to become a permanent member, arguing that developing nations need a greater say in global decision-making.

The proposal has won backing from Washington and yesterday, the European Union said it would also back the move.

“I look forward to welcoming the AU as a permanent member of the G20”, European Council President Charles Michel told reporters in New Delhi, where the two-day G20 summit begins on Saturday.

The Group of 20 major economies currently consists of 19 countries and the European Union, making up about 85 per cent of global GDP and two-thirds of the world population.

But South Africa is currently the only G20 member from the African continent.

The Ethiopia-headquartered AU was created in 2002, following the disbanding of the Organisation of African Unity.

At full strength, it has 55 members, but six junta-ruled nations are currently suspended. Collectively it has a GDP of $3 trillion with some 1.4 billion people.

India’s top foreign service officer, Vinay Kwatra, said it expected a decision on AU membership would be made at the summit on Saturday morning.

In December 2022, U.S. President, Joe Biden, said he wanted the AU “to join the G20 as a permanent member”, adding that it had “been a long time in coming, but it’s going to come”.

On Tuesday at the G-20 summit, Biden’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, reiterated the stance while discussing the U.S. priorities for the New Delhi summit.

“We’re also looking forward to warmly welcoming the African Union as a permanent member of the G20 — the newest permanent member. We believe that the African Union’s voice will make the G20 stronger,” Sullivan said at a White House briefing.

Members of the G20 are Argen tina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Türkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union.

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