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G-20 admits African Union as permanent member at New Delhi summit

NEW DELHI – The African Union (AU) was made a permanent member of the Group of 20 (G-20), comprising the world’s richest and most powerful countries, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the bloc’s summit in New Delhi on Saturday.

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”.

Mr Modi, in his opening remarks at the summit, invited the AU, represented by chairman Azali Assoumani, to take a seat at the table of G-20 leaders as a permanent member.

“Honoured to welcome the African Union as a permanent member of the G-20 family. This will strengthen the G-20 and also strengthen the voice of the Global South,” said a message on Mr Modi’s official account on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

The move was proposed by Mr Modi in June.

Reuters earlier cited the draft declaration admitting the AU as a permanent member.

The AU at full strength has 55 members but six junta-ruled nations are currently suspended. Collectively, it has a GDP of US$3 trillion (S$4 trillion) with some 1.4 billion people.

As the G-20, the grouping included 19 countries and the EU, representing 85 per cent of the world GDP, with South Africa its only member state from the continent.

“As a continent, we look forward to further advancing our aspirations on the global stage using the G-20 platform,” Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is at the summit, posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Meanwhile, AU Commission head Moussa Faki Mahamat said on Saturday the bloc’s entry into the G-20 will provide a “propitious framework” for the continent to make “its effective contribution” in aiding the world to meet global challenges.

Other issues being decided on at the summit include more loans to developing nations by multilateral institutions, reform of international debt architecture, regulations on cryptocurrency and the impact of geopolitics on food and energy security.

The 38-page draft which was circulated among members left the “geopolitical situation” paragraph blank – reflecting deep dividsion over the war in Ukraine – but 75 other paragraphs indicated broad agreement on issues such as cryptocurrencies and reforms in multilateral development banks.

The G-20 previously comprised 19 countries and the EU, with the members representing around 85 per cent of global gross domestic product, more than 75 per cent of global trade and about two-thirds of the world population. REUTERS, AFP

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