The AU’s Reception In to G-20: A Powerful Acknowledgement Of A Continent Of More Than 1 Billion People.

10 Mons Ago
The AU’s Reception In to G-20: A Powerful Acknowledgement Of A Continent Of More Than 1 Billion People.

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By staff  Reporter

The AU’s Reception into G-20: A Powerful Acknowledgement of a continent of more than 1 billion People.


The African Union (AU) has finally managed to go partners with the world’s heavy weights in the G20. The continental body’s emergence as a permanent member of the international forum consisting of 19 countries and the European Union is a move that has been broadly welcomed for giving the continent an important voice on key global issues.

The G20 accounts for approximately 85% of global GDP and 75% of global trade, as well as two-thirds of the world's population before the AU joined it. Given African leadership and innovation being critical to addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges, the quest for AU’s permanent membership in the G-20 was a long-lingering issue.

Africans have long been maintaining that their inclusion in such global forums would contribute to strengthening the positions of the majority of countries worldwide and the interests of the Global South, a position also backed by the likes of Russia and India. The AU now has the same status as the European Union - the only regional bloc with a full membership. Its previous designation was "invited international organisation".

The move is also a boost for Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who has sought to make this year's G20 Summit more focused on the needs of the developing world.

Indeed the exclusion of Africa from the inter-governmental forum meant the divide between North and South expanded and that the distance between the East and West widened. Such critical issues as management of food and fuel, terrorism, cyber security, health, energy or water security-all facing the continent of 1 billion-should find a solid solution. With the entry of the AU, representing its 55 member states, into the G20 as a member, Africa is posed to change its status as an object of decision-making at the G20. On its part the global body enormously expanded its legitimacy and representativeness.

Without a voice at the table, Africa has thus far remained a passive receiver rather than an active contributor to discussions shaping its economic destiny. This has led to decisions that are not responsive to the needs of the countries of the region. Key initiatives, such as the G20’s Common Framework for Debt Treatment have fallen short in part due to the lack of African representation, rendering these decisions inefficient, slow, and ambiguous. Africa’s exclusion from the table also tilts the scales towards creditor nations, disproportionately affecting low-income countries within the continent.

For Africa as well, its representation through the AU would provide a platform for it to also put on the agenda of the G20 matters of concern that require international cooperation.

Similarly, AU’s membership can also help to achieve clear strategic recognition at global level on the enormous potential of Africa to contribute to the global challenge of climate change. This the AU may achieve through, among others, facilitating understanding and clear appreciation of Africa’s enormous potential to play leading role in powering the global green transition and for developing cooperation framework for realizing this potential on a win-win basis.

The membership of the AU also provides the opportunity to redress the void created by the reduced role of the UN on economic policy making as a result of the emergence of the G20 as the main locus of international economic and development decision-making. AU’s membership would enable Africa to make up for the loss from the diminished role of the UN. It also gives Africa the opportunity to bring its standing as the largest block in the UN to bear on the work of the G20 and through that to also elevate its influence in the international financial system.

It is essential for AU members to put up a unified front in international affairs. Extreme poverty, political unrest, and threats to peace and security constitute daunting challenges for the continent—all of which require global cooperation and coordinated action. The AU must unite, work together, and act collectively in a way that reflects Africa’s unique needs. This cannot happen if member states speak with discordant voices.//

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