The African Union may join the G20, officials said on Friday. The group’s request was supported by existing member states who are gathering for a summit in India.
Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India and G20 host, requested that the pan-African organization should become a permanent member and argued that developing countries should have a greater say in international decision-making.
The proposal was supported by the US and the European Union confirmed on Friday that it would also support the move.
“I look forward to welcoming the AU as a permanent member of the G20,” Charles Michel, president of the European Council, told reporters in New Delhi, where the two-day summit begins on Saturday.
The group of 20 major economies currently consists of 19 member states and the European Union and represents around 85% of global GDP and two-thirds of the world’s population. South Africa is currently the only G20 member from the African continent.
The AU is an international organization of 55 African countries. The capital of the African Union is Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. The AU’s predecessor is the Organization for African Unity (OAU) which was replaced by the AU on 9 July 2002. It has a combined GDP of $3 billion (“trillion”) and about 1.4 billion people.
Vinay Kwatra, foreign service officer of India, said a decision on the AU’s membership is expected to be made on Saturday morning.
However, the G20 is divided on several issues from Russia’s war in Ukraine to climate change. It is possible that one of the members may oppose the request.
Azali Assoumani, president of the Comoros Islands and current head of the African Union, arrived in New Delhi on Friday and enjoyed a red carpet reception.
Assoumani (64) is a former army chief who took over power during a coup in 1999 before retiring in 2006. He returned to politics in 2016 and won the election in 2019.
US President Joe Biden said in December that he wanted the AU to “join the G20 as a permanent member”.