African leaders welcome African Union’s entry into G20

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By AFP and Asian News International

The AU’s entry to the G20 on Saturday was welcomed by leaders across Africa who said the move would give the continent a “voice”.

Until recently, South Africa was the only African country that was part of the grouping.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he was “delighted” by the move.

Issues around climate change “can only be addressed collectively and with a great deal of solidarity” he added, and “access to adequate and predictable financial resources from a variety of public and private sources is critical if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”.

“Kenya welcomes the addition of the AU – the fastest-growing continent in the world, to the G20,” Kenyan President William Ruto wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“This will increase the voice of Africa, visibility, and influence on the global stage and provide a platform to advance the common interest of our people.

“With Africa poised to grow in the coming years, a seat will allow it to shape the decisions of G20 to ensure the continent’s interests are advanced,” Ruto said in a separate statement.

“The outcome of the just-concluded Africa Climate Summit including fundamental reforms of international financial institutions and multilateral development banks is one thing that AU will advance,” he added.

The AU at full strength has 55 members but six junta-ruled nations are currently suspended. Collectively, it has a gross domestic product (GDP) of $3 trillion (R57trl) with some 1.4 billion people.

As the G20, the grouping included 19 countries and the EU, representing 85 percent of the world’s GDP, with South Africa its only member state from the continent.

US President Joe Biden on Saturday posted on X: “Together, the US, India, Brazil and South Africa reaffirm our shared commitment to the G20 – delivering solutions for our shared world.

“In this spirit, together with the World Bank president, we welcome the G20’s commitment to build better, bigger and more effective multilateral development banks. This commitment underscores what we can do, by working together through the G20, to support our people toward a better future,” a joint statement read.

The opening day of the G20 summit on Saturday witnessed several crucial developments, including the formal induction of the AU to the group, 100% consensus on the Delhi Declaration, a bio-fuel alliance and the announcement of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IECC EC).

India, the US, UAE, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Italy and the EU on Saturday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the IECC EC.

The corridor will encourage and provide impetus to economic development through enhanced connectivity and economic integration between Asia, West Asia/Middle East and Europe, sources said.

The IMCC EC will consist of two separate corridors – East corridor connecting India to West Asia/Middle East and the Northern corridor connecting West Asia/Middle East to Europe. It will include a rail line that, upon completion, will provide a reliable and cost-effective cross-border ship-to-rail transit network to supplement the existing multi-modal transport routes enhancing transshipment of goods and services between Southeast Asia through India to West Asia/Middle East Europe.

Connectivity with countries of the region remains a key priority for India and is deeply rooted in Indian civilisational history, read the statement, adding that India had always stood to invest, co-operate and build connectivity as part of “One Earth, One Family, One Future”.

While expanding connectivity, it is important to ensure that the initiatives in this direction are consultative, transparent and participatory with respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, sources said, adding that adhering to the principles of financial responsibility and economic viability are key to avoiding an unsustainable debt burden on the recipients.

Conforming to ecological and environmental standards must also be ensured, sources added.

“The objective of development cooperation is that it would stand out as a symbol of an alternate approach, cement our relationship with key actors in the region and beyond, and provide our industry and business new opportunities to plug into international trade and logistics corridors,” the statement read.

India stands to gain significantly as the deal places the country firmly on the route of trade flows from South East Asia to the Gulf, West Asia and Europe, giving it significant strategic and economic advantage, besides creating huge opportunities in the logistics and transportation sector, sources added.

AFP and Asian News International

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