During the recent G20 summit held in New Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a historic development – the African Union, a continental organization consisting of 55 member states, was granted permanent membership within the esteemed G20, a group comprised of the world’s wealthiest and most influential nations. This decision elevates the African Union to a status equivalent to that of the European Union, making it the only regional bloc with full membership. Prior to this landmark move, the African Union held the status of an “invited international organization.”
In his opening address at the summit, Prime Minister Modi extended a warm invitation to the African Union, represented by Chairperson Azali Assoumani, to join the ranks of G20 leaders as a permanent member. Modi expressed his honor in welcoming the African Union, underscoring how this inclusion would not only fortify the G20 but also amplify the voice of the Global South.
Modi’s official social media account, now hosted on the X platform (formerly Twitter), conveyed the message: “Honored to welcome the African Union as a permanent member of the G20 Family. This will enhance the G20’s strength and further empower the Global South.”
This monumental decision had initially been proposed by Modi in June and was substantiated by a draft declaration that was reported by Reuters ahead of the summit. The draft declaration encompassed a range of critical issues under deliberation, including increased financial support for developing nations by multilateral institutions, reforms in the international debt architecture, regulatory frameworks for cryptocurrencies, and the repercussions of geopolitical dynamics on global food and energy security.
While the draft declaration featured a blank space in the section pertaining to the “geopolitical situation,” indicative of the deep divisions surrounding the Ukraine conflict, it indicated consensus on 75 other paragraphs, encompassing matters such as cryptocurrency regulations and reforms within multilateral development banks.
Notably, the G20 had previously consisted of 19 countries and the European Union, collectively representing approximately 85% of the world’s GDP, over 75% of global trade, and about two-thirds of the global population. This expansion with the African Union’s inclusion marks a significant step toward broader representation and collaboration on global economic and political matters.