New Delhi, Sep 9 (EFE).- The African Union became the new permanent member of the G20 at the bloc’s summit in the Indian capital on Saturday.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been pushing for greater participation of developing countries in elite global multilateral fora, announced the full G20 membership status of the 55-member African continental bloc.
“We welcome the African Union as a permanent member of the G20,” Modi said in his opening remarks at the summit, following it up with a warm handshake and his trademark hug to the African Union’s chairperson, Azali Assoumani.
In a sign of camaraderie, Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar escorted Assoumani before he took a seat at the round table, joining the rest of the leaders of the 20 wealthiest economies amid loud applause.
India has been advocating for the permanent membership of the African Union, previously designated as an “invited international organization,” since New Delhi assumed the rotating G20 presidency last year.
“India has played a huge role in this regard. We are very thankful and grateful to India’s leadership of the G20,” South Africa’s presidential spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, told the media.
“It is a very positive development. India has set a bar for future summits that must be geared towards ensuring that there is a great deal of inclusivity in terms of determining the global economic agenda.”
At the G20 high table, the African Union now shares its status with the European Union, the only regional bloc with full-membership of the global economic forum.
It was unclear if the addition of a 21st member to the group of the world’s developed and fast-emerging economies would lead to a name change for the G20, but an Indian diplomat told reporters that Brazil could address the issue when it takes over the presidency.
European Council President Charles Michel welcomed the inclusion of the African Union.
“The EU has been a steadfast supporter of this initiative, and I am pleased to have championed it from the very beginning,” Michel wrote on the social media platform X, previously called Twitter.
The leaders of the wealthiest nations have gathered in New Delhi for the G20 summit that will conclude on Sunday.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez are among the notable absentees at the summit.
United States President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak are attending the summit. EFE