New Delhi: In his opening remarks to the group’s summit in Delhi on Saturday, the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, invited the continental body, represented by its chair, Azali Assoumani, to take a seat at the table of G20 leaders as a permanent member.
The African Union (AU) now has the same status as the European Union, previously the only regional bloc with a full membership. Its previous designation was “invited international organisation”.
Leaders from across Africa welcomed the move, which PM Modi proposed in June, saying it would give the continent a voice.
Until recently, South Africa was the only African country to be part of the G20.
“Kenya welcomes the addition of the African Union, the fastest growing continent in the world, to the G20,” the country’s president, William Ruto, wrote on X, formerly 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.”
He said in a separate statement: “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.
“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.”
The AU commission’s head, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said earlier that the move would allow the continent to make an effective contribution in helping the world meet global challenges.
“This membership, for which we have long been advocating, will provide a propitious framework for amplifying advocacy in favour of the continent and its effective contribution to meeting global challenges,” he wrote on X.
The AU at full strength has 55 members, but six junta-ruled nations are suspended. It has a collective GDP of $3tn (£2.4tn) and a population of 1.4 billion people.
South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, said on X that he was delighted by the move.
Climate emergency problems “can only be addressed collectively and with a great deal of solidarity”, he said. “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.”
The Nigerian president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is at the summit, posted on X: “As a continent, we look forward to further advancing our aspirations on the global stage using the G20 platform.”