Last Updated: September 09, 2023, 17:26 IST
PM Narendra Modi greets delegates during the inaugural function of 52nd African Development Bank meeting in Gujarat. (PTI)
The inclusion of the African Union in the G20 is a diplomatic win for India as it will drive international economic cooperation
In a diplomatic win for India, the African Union became a new permanent member of the G20, on the first day of the summit under New Delhi’s presidency on Saturday. This is the first expansion of the influential bloc since its inception in 1999, giving the continent a broader representation in the prominent bloc.
All member countries of the G20 accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposal to bring the key bloc of the Global South to the high table of the world’s top economies. Several countries including China, US, Russia and the European Union have expressed their support after India moved a formal resolution to make the 55-member African Union the 21st member of the G-20.
Honoured to welcome the African Union as a permanent member of the G20 Family. This will strengthen the G20 and also strengthen the voice of the Global South. pic.twitter.com/fQQvNEA17o— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 9, 2023
The AU membership is a trump car for India’s presidency as India has been voicing support for Global South and portraying itself as the leader of the developing nations.
INDIA’S STAND ON AU MEMBERSHIP
Although 17 summits have been held since its first meeting in 2008, not once was the membership of the African Union raised by any of the host countries.
In the last few years, India has been positioning itself as a leading voice, flagging concerns, challenges and aspirations of the Global South or the developing nations, especially the African continent.
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. In July, a formal proposal was formally included in the draft communique for the summit during the third G20 Sherpas meeting that took place in Karnataka’s Hampi.
“Honoured to welcome the African Union as a permanent member of the G20 Family. This will strengthen the G20 and also strengthen the voice of the Global South,” Modi posted on X along with a video of his announcing that the African Union has become a permanent member of the G20.
PM Modi had maintained that Africa is “top priority” for India and that it works for the inclusion of those in global affairs who feel their voices are not being heard.
What is the African Union?
The African Union is an influential organisation comprising 55 member states that make up the countries of the African continent. The group has a GDP of $3 trillion with some 1.4 billion people.
Headquartered in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, AU was launched as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 2002. Currently it is the most important regional organisation in Africa and plays a pivotal role in promoting peace and security, democratic governance and social development.
The group was formed to realise the potential of Africa to fight against colonisation with a focus on increased cooperation and integration of African states for economic development.
Some of the aims of the AU are:
- Achieve greater unity and solidarity between African countries and people.
- Defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of member states.
- Increase the political and socio-economic integration in Africa.
- Encourage international cooperation.
- Promote peace, security, and stability in Africa.
- Promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance in the continent.
AU Membership to Benefit India-Africa Ties
African Union’s entry will now redefine the G20 from an exclusive club to an inclusive one with voices from the Global South, where more than 85% of the world resides. For India, strong ties with the AU can be a force multiplier in the United Nations, with the bloc wielding its voting power in the UN general assembly.
For Africa, India is seen as trustworthy compared to China, France, the US, and Europe. New Delhi 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 already extended over $12.37 billion in concessional loans to Africa.
Moreover, 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 is expected to cross $100 billion soon.