The African Union (AU) seems well on its way to becoming a permanent member of the G20, several officials suggested Friday, on the eve of a summit of this organization bringing together the largest developed and emerging economies on the planet.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose country holds the presidency of the G20 this year and is hosting the heads of state and government this weekend, has shown in recent days his desire to expand this group with ” inclusion of the African Union as a permanent member.
A senior official at the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vinay Kwatra, said he expected a decision on Saturday morning at the summit. However, it is still possible that a G20 member vetoes.
The president of the Comoros archipelago, Azali Assoumani, who is currently head of the African Union, landed in New Delhi on Friday and is due to take part in the weekend talks. The European Union, which has a seat in the G20, showed its support for the initiative on Friday.
“I look forward to welcoming the African Union as a permanent member of the G20,” European Council President Charles Michel told reporters in New Delhi. “Let’s wait and see what the decision will be. But one thing is clear: the EU supports Africa’s membership of the G20.”
In December, US President Joe Biden had already expressed the wish that the AU join the G20 as a permanent member, assuring that “it was going to happen”.
A position reaffirmed this week by his national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, during a briefing on American priorities at the summit. “We believe that the voice of the African Union will strengthen the G20,” he commented.
Only one African country, South Africa, is currently a member of the G20, which brings together 19 of the world’s largest economies plus the European Union, representing 85% of global GDP and two-thirds of the world’s population.
Based in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, the AU has 55 members (including six suspended), totaling three trillion dollars in GDP. Granting the African Union a permanent seat in the G20 would make it possible to “repair an injustice,” Senegalese President Macky Sall argued in July.
“Africa combined is in eighth place in the world in terms of gross domestic product,” recalled Mr Sall, who spoke by videoconference as part of the Economic Meetings in Aix-en-Provence, in the south of France.