India’s Prime Minister Modi urges African Union to join G20

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India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has put forward a proposal to make the African Union a full member of the G20, while also positioning India as a solution to global supply chain challenges.

Speaking at the Business 20 Summit in New Delhi, Modi emphasised his vision of inclusiveness and extended an invitation to the AU to become permanent members of the G20.

India's Prime Minister Modi urges African Union to join G20
The Indian prime minister speaks at a special session of the Business 20 Summit ahead of the G20 Summit to be held in September, in New Delhi. [Manish Swarup/AP Photo]
Currently, the G20 comprises 19 countries and the European Union, representing approximately 85% of global GDP and two-thirds of the world’s population. However, South Africa is the only member from the African continent. Modi’s proposal seeks to address this lack of representation by including the pan-African bloc, whose collective GDP amounted to $3 trillion last year.

Modi’s call for African Union membership in the G20 follows a similar statement made by US President Joe Biden in December. Biden expressed his desire for the AU to have a permanent seat in the G20, acknowledging the long-overdue recognition. The move to include the AU aligns with the G20’s objective of fostering greater global economic cooperation and ensuring a more inclusive representation of nations.

By urging the AU’s involvement, Modi hopes to leverage the synergies between India and Africa to address supply chain challenges. India has emerged as a major player in the global supply chain, with its robust manufacturing capabilities and tech-savvy workforce. Modi emphasised that India can be a reliable partner for African nations, offering expertise and resources to enhance their participation in the global economy.

As India assumes the role of host for this year’s G20 summit, it faces the challenge of bridging differences among its members on various issues, notably the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

Unlike the Western countries, India has adopted a different stance and chosen not to isolate Moscow. Instead, the country has become the largest buyer of Russian crude, signalling its commitment to an independent foreign policy.

India’s push to include the AU in the G20 reflects its growing prominence on the global stage and its desire for an inclusive and equitable international order.

Modi’s proposal, backed by Biden’s endorsement, underscores the significance of Africa’s role in shaping global economic policies and decisions. By integrating African countries into the G20, more diverse perspectives can be incorporated into discussions, leading to more balanced and effective solutions.

The G20 delegates have not been able to reach a consensus and release any official statements during their past meetings, casting uncertainty on the outcome of the September meeting.

The African Union, based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, consists of 55 member countries. However, five nations that are under military rule have currently been suspended from participating in AU activities.

To Counter a Rising China: India Rises to the Challenge

India's Prime Minister Modi urges African Union to join G20
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the gathering on the third day of the three-day B20 Summit in New Delhi on Aug. 27, 2023.

The global landscape has experienced a seismic shift in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As nations reevaluate their global supply chains, one country has boldly declared itself as the solution to the challenges posed by the changing world order – India.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his efforts to boost his country’s manufacturing capabilities, aims to counter the rise of China and establish India as an efficient and trusted global supply chain.

The strained relations between India and China reached a boiling point in 2020 with a deadly border clash that claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers and at least four Chinese servicemen. This incident escalated tensions between the two most populous nations in the world and highlighted the need for a comprehensive strategy to address the evolving power dynamics in the region.

Recognizing the significance of countering a rising China, the United States has sought closer ties with India. As the world’s second-largest economy, China poses a formidable challenge to the existing power structures. Through strengthening their alliance with India, the United States aims to establish a balance of power in the region and protect its own interests.

India, however, has treaded cautiously in its approach to countering China. While engaging with the United States, India has maintained its engagements with Russia, despite Western pressure. This balancing act allows India to leverage its relationships with multiple global powers, creating a more nuanced position in the face of a rising China. India’s attendance at the BRICS summit, a group that includes China and Russia as core members, signifies its commitment to engaging with diverse global powers and developing a counterweight to Western dominance.

In a world that has been shaped by the turbulent events of the past year, the need for a reliable and efficient global supply chain has become more apparent than ever. India, with its vast manufacturing capabilities and technological advancements, has positioned itself as the answer to this global challenge. Prime Minister Modi’s emphasis on bolstering manufacturing in India demonstrates a commitment to reducing reliance on China and establishing a self-reliant supply chain that can withstand future disruptions.

Moreover, India’s geographical advantage cannot be overlooked. As a key player in the Indo-Pacific region, India’s strategic location has immense implications for countering China’s influence. With increasing collaboration and partnerships with countries in the region, such as Japan and Australia, India is well-positioned to tackle the rising dominance of China.

Ericson Mangoli
Ericson Mangoli is the founder and Managing Editor of Who Owns Africa, a platform for African journalism that focuses on politics, governance, and business. Mangoli is passionate about African stories and believes that media has a crucial role to play in driving the continent's development. In his work, he strives to promote accuracy and objective reporting on Africa.

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