NEW DELHI: During the New Delhi summit, a historic development unfolded as the G20 officially welcomed the African Union (AU) into its fold as a permanent member. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made this groundbreaking announcement, granting the African Union, a continental organization encompassing 55 member states, equivalent status to that of the European Union– a distinction previously held by no other regional bloc within the G20. Previously, the AU had been classified as an “invited international organization.”
In his inaugural remarks at the summit, Prime Minister Modi extended a warm invitation to the African Union, with Chairperson Azali Assoumani representing the organization, to assume a permanent seat alongside G20 leaders. In a statement shared on Modi’s official social media account on platform X (formerly Twitter), he expressed, “Honored to embrace the African Union as an enduring member of the G20 Family. This move will not only fortify the G20 but also amplify the voice of the Global South.”
This significant development had its origins in a proposal put forth by Prime Minister Modi back in June, a proposal that was confirmed by Reuters through a draft declaration acknowledging the African Union’s newfound permanent status.
The summit’s agenda also encompassed a range of other pivotal issues, including increased financial support for developing nations from multilateral institutions, the restructuring of the international debt framework, regulatory measures concerning cryptocurrency, and the ramifications of geopolitics on global food and energy security. Although the section addressing the “geopolitical situation” was notably left vacant in the 38-page draft circulated among summit participants–a reflection of the profound discord surrounding the Ukraine conflict–there appeared to be broad consensus on 75 other sections, notably those concerning cryptocurrencies and reforms within multilateral development banks.
Previously composed of 19 nations and the European Union, the G20 collectively represents a staggering 85% of global GDP, over 75% of global trade, and approximately two-thirds of the world’s population.