India pushes for G20 membership for the African Union

At the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his hope for unanimous support from all BRICS nations for India's proposal to grant permanent membership in the G20 to the African Union.

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G20 meeting

During his speech, PM Modi emphasized India’s strong commitment to addressing the concerns of Global South nations as part of its G20 presidency. India is set to host the upcoming G20 summit on September 9th and 10th. All BRICS nations hold permanent membership in the G20.

In June, PM Modi reached out to G20 leaders, advocating for the African Union’s full inclusion in the grouping during the forthcoming summit in New Delhi. Subsequently, this proposal was formally integrated into the draft leaders’ declaration during the third G20 Sherpas’ meeting in Hampi, Karnataka, from July 13th to 16th, where it received substantial support.

The African Union (AU) comprises 55 member states from the African continent and wields considerable influence.

Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed China’s endorsement of the African Union’s accession to the Group of 20 during the BRICS Summit. Xi also conveyed China’s readiness to promote the cooperative development of a China-Africa community with a shared future in the modern era, as discussed in his meeting with Senegalese President Macky Sall on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit.

Prime Minister Modi commended South Africa for its leadership role within BRICS and its emphasis on elevating the significance of Global South countries. He stressed that this focus is “not only the expectation but also the need”, highlighting India’s prioritization of this theme during its G20 chairmanship.

The BRICS consortium, consisting of five major developing nations, represents a substantial portion of the global landscape, comprising 41% of the world’s population, 24% of global GDP, and 16% of global trade.

African nations have been pushing for a permanent seat on the Security Council, at the G20 and generally to be included in the conversations that concern them as well as the Global South and the North.

The President of Senegal, Macky Sall, when Chairman of the African Union last year, told the EU-Africa summit “Africa, which is in the throes of change, aspires to consensual and mutually beneficial partnerships; partnerships co-constructed on the basis of shared priorities and values, without civilisational injunction, exclusion or exclusivity”.

The question remains, why has Africa been largely excluded from participation in the global conversations and among the world’s most influential groupings? Can the BRICS help sway the vote in favour of the African Union being granted full membership of the G20?

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