The African Union has become the second regional group to be admitted to full membership of the Group of 20 leading industrialized and developing countries, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Saturday at the start of the two-day G20 leaders’ summit in Delhi.
The widely expected move underscores India’s broad agenda to shift the focus of the global multilateral forum to the global South during this year’s G20 presidency. The 55-member African bloc joins the European Union as only the second regional organization to become a permanent member of the G20 group.
“India’s chairmanship of the G20 has become a symbol of inclusiveness both at home and abroad and represents the spirit of ‘Sabka Saath’,” Modi said in his opening remarks, according to an official translation by India’s Ministry of External Affairs, refers to the ‘spirit of togetherness’.
“In the spirit of togetherness, India proposed permanent membership for the African Union in the G-20,” he added.
After the announcement, Modi welcomed African Union President Azali Assoumani and offered him a seat at the negotiating table of the permanent members of the G20.
The presidency of the African Union rotates between the five regions of the continent every year. Assoumani is the president of Comoros, an archipelago off the east coast of Africa.
“I am delighted that the African Union has become a full member of the G20,” said European Council President Charles Michel on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
“EU has been a steadfast supporter of this initiative and I am pleased to have championed it from the very beginning with Macky Sall,” he added. Sall is the president of Senegal and a former president of the African Union in 2022.
Modi said, “This period in the 21st century is the time to give a new direction to the world. Ancient challenges require new solutions from us, and therefore we must fulfill all our commitments and move forward with a human approach.”
Underscoring the G20’s focus on sustainable development and emerging economies in the coming years, Brazil will take over the G20 presidency in 2024, and South Africa will take over in 2025.
Brazilian President Lula da Silva, one of the world’s leading leaders, said, “Our Government will launch a global mobilization against climate change next year as president of the G20 group.”