The African Union is set to become the G20’s newest member, officials said on Friday, after the bloc’s request received support from existing members assembled in India for a summit.
It was reported that the G20’s host and Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, asked for the pan-African institution to become a permanent member, stating that emerging countries need more say in global decision-making.
The initiative has received support from Washington, and the European Union announced its support on Friday.
“I look forward to welcoming the AU as a permanent member of the G20”, European Council president Charles Michel told reporters in New Delhi, where the two-day G20 summit begins on Saturday.
The Group of 20 major economies now comprises of 19 countries plus the European Union, accounting for around 85% of global GDP and two-thirds of the global population.
However, South Africa is now the only African G20 member.
Following the dissolution of the Organisation of African Unity, the AU was founded in Ethiopia in 2002.
It has 55 members at full strength, but six junta-ruled nations are now suspended. It has a combined GDP of $3 trillion and 1.4 billion people.
India’s top foreign service official, Vinay Kwatra, predicted that an AU membership decision would be reached at the summit on Saturday morning.
In December 2022, U.S. President, Joe Biden, said he wanted the AU “to join the G20 as a permanent member”, adding that it had “been a long time in coming, but it’s going to come”.
On Tuesday, Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security advisor, repeated the position while detailing the United States’ aims for the New Delhi meeting.
“We’re also looking forward to warmly welcoming the African Union as a permanent member of the G20 — the newest permanent member. We believe that the African Union’s voice will make the G20 stronger,” Sullivan said at a White House briefing.