The African Union is to join the Group of 20 (G20) as a permanent member, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Saturday as he inaugurated a leaders’ summit in New Delhi for the world’s wealthiest nations.
In his opening speech, Modi invited the chair of the African Union, Azali Assoumani, to take his seat as a permanent member of the grouping as other leaders applauded and looked on.
Modi is bringing together global leaders in New Delhi as enduring divisions over Russia’s war in Ukraine continue to deepen, taking charge of delivering discourse around some of the most pressing issues, including global economic jitters and a climate crisis that needs urgent action from the world’s wealthiest nations.
“Today, as the president of G20, India calls upon the world to come together to transform the global trust deficit into one of trust and reliance,” Modi said during his opening remarks.
“This is the time for all of us to move together… Be it the divide between North and South, the distance between the East and West, management of food and fuel, terrorism, cyber security, health, energy or water security, we must find a solid solution to this for future generations.”
The African Union is a continental body consisting of the 55 member states that make up the countries of the African continent.
It has long been a guest invitee to the G20 gathering alongside other major global organizations, including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
This step will however make the body a permanent member – like the European Union is – potentially turning the G20 into the G21 and giving the African bloc a front-row seat at one of the world’s most powerful global governance bodies.
Since assuming the G20 presidency, Modi has been keen to push India’s credentials as a leader of emerging and developing nations, known as the Global South, pushing for increased cooperation with richer nations to help secure vital financial lifelines.
Modi has previously spoken of his intention to include the African Union in the grouping.
“When we say we see the world as a family, we truly mean it,” Modi said in an interview ahead of the summit with the Press Trust of India, one of India’s largest news agencies.
“Africa is a top priority for us even within the G20. One of the first things we did during our G20 Presidency was to hold the Voice of the Global South summit, which had enthusiastic participation from Africa.