The African Union in the G20? It would be good news.


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken the initiative to invite the African Union (AU), with its fifty-five member states, to join the G20. He did so by discussing it with all the governments of the member countries, as India holds the rotating presidency for 2023 and positions itself as a leader of developing countries and the so-called Global South. The next summit of G20 heads of state and government will take place on September 9th in New Delhi.

Modi’s initiative, which reflects the current global political inclination towards multilateralism and a shift in the geopolitical axis towards the Global South, represents a significant step towards Africa’s inclusion in global governance decision-making processes. It is a political initiative that should not only be appreciated but also evaluated with confidence. Despite Africa often being associated with issues such as malnutrition, diseases, and poverty, it is a continent rich in material, cultural, and human resources, and with a very young population, it is firmly oriented towards the future. Europe and Africa are interdependent and share a common destiny, with challenges that can only be addressed together. Africa needs Europe, and Europe needs Africa: there should be a full political awareness of the inescapable link between the two continents.

In addition to India, the entry of the AU into the G20 is supported by Italy, with the strong support of Minister Tajani, as well as several other member countries such as the United States, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia, Japan, and the European Union. Australia, Canada, Argentina, Mexico, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey remain doubtful for now.

The entry of the AU would make the G20 more representative, inclusive, and influential, as it would represent 80% of the planet in terms of population and 85% of global GDP. It would allow Africa to actively participate in decisions on global challenges such as economic growth, climate change, green energy, sustainable development, and the digital economy. Significant is its economic potential, with considerable mineral wealth, demographic expansion, the gradual implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and growing influence in global affairs.

There are various issues that Europe and Africa can tackle together in a true partnership of mutual interest, capable of looking ahead and building a common future of sustainability, including environmental issues, widespread clean energy, major transformations of the continent in urban and rural areas, communication networks, transportation and supply, productive activities, services, education and training, the need to ensure decent jobs for hundreds of thousands of new young people, managing human mobility and forced migration, stability, combating inequality, social and economic inclusion, respect for individuals and their rights, and peace.

For LINK 2007, it is essential to involve a wide range of actors and commit to a common future based on a shared vision and mutual collaboration and understanding in order to promote sustainable growth and development in both Europe and Africa. Supporting the African continent will also require financial, fiscal, and insurance tools to incentivize investments in line with the UN’s 2030 Agenda, as well as a partnership between European and African pension funds to implement sustainable investment strategies in infrastructure, agriculture, healthcare, and basic education.

As a network of organizations focused on sustainable development cooperation and international solidarity, we welcome the initiative of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to promote the entry of the African Union into the G20 as an important step towards Africa’s inclusion in global governance, given the increasing importance of the continent in the global context. In this regard, the European Union, considering this entry beneficial to the common good, in the general interest and to the advantage of all, also benefits itself. It is a challenge that must be seized because Africa is and will be the most important partner for Europe in building a common destiny based on equal dignity, mutual understanding, and shared responsibility.

Roberto Ridolfi, President of LINK 2007.

The article was published in VITA NON PROFIT.