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Indian prime minister proposes full G20 membership for African Union

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during the third day of the three-day B20 Summit in New Delhi on August 27, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has proposed to grant full membership to the African Union (AU) in the Group of 20 (G20) as the bloc is set to hold a summit in New Delhi next month.

“We have a vision of inclusiveness and with that vision, we have invited the African Union to become permanent members of the G20,” Modi said at the Business 20 Summit in New Delhi on Sunday.

Earlier this year, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that the AU, which collectively had a $3 trillion gross domestic product (GDP) last year, has his full backing for a permanent seat at the G20.

Moreover, on the sideline of the BRICS summit on Thursday, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said the bloc supports the inclusion of the African Union in the Group of 20 nations.  

As the G20 Summit on September 9-10 is approaching, Modi said that the heads of 40 countries and many global organizations would be arriving in the Indian capital to participate in the summit, which will be “the biggest participation ever in the history of the G20.”

The G20 this year also invited nine non-member "guest" countries, including Bangladesh, Singapore, Spain and Nigeria, besides international organizations such as the United Nations, World Health Organization, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The G20 is an intergovernmental forum of the world's major developed and developing economies, comprised of 19 countries and the European Union (EU).

The bloc represents around 85 percent of the global GDP, over 75 percent of global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population – but South Africa is the only member from the continent.

India currently holds the G20 presidency, a position that rotates each year between the member states.

"When India assumed the G20 presidency last December, we were acutely conscious that most of the Global South would not be at the table when we meet," said Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

"This mattered very much because the really urgent problems are those faced by them," he added. "India, itself so much a part of the Global South, could not stand by and let that happen."


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