With the negotiations among sherpas held recently, the African Union (AU) is set to join the G-20. Now, the 55-member AU will join the European Union as the only two regional bodies in the G-20.
India had written a letter to the G20 nations in which he proposed that the African Union be given full, permanent membership of the bloc at the upcoming summit in New Delhi.
Countries like Germany, Brazil, and Canada have also expressed their support for African Union membership to the G20.
The G20 this year has also invited nine non-member countries, including Bangladesh, Singapore, Spain, and Nigeria, and international organizations such as the United Nations, World Health Organization, the World Bank, and the IMF on the 9 and 10 September Summit.
About the African Union (AU):
The African Union (AU) is a continental body consisting of the 55 member states that make up the countries of the African Continent.
In 1963, the Organization of African Unity was founded by the independent states of Africa.
The organization aimed to promote cooperation between African states.
The 1980 Lagos Plan of Action was adopted by the Organization of African Unity. The plan suggested that Africa should minimize reliance upon the West by promoting intra-African trade.
In 2002, the Organization of African Unity was succeeded by the African Union, which had as one of its goals to accelerate the "economic integration of the continent”.
G20 Summit 2023:
Theme: India's G20 theme is derived from the Sanskrit phrase "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam" which translates to “The World is One Family".
Agendas: Under India's presidency, the bloc has centered discussions around more loans to developing nations from multilateral institutions, reforming international debt architecture, regulations on cryptocurrency and the impact of geopolitical uncertainties on food and energy security.
Social Infrastructure: The India-Africa social infrastructure (education, health, skills) cooperation is multidimensional, comprehensive, and involves national, state, and subnational actors working toward augmenting African institutional and individual capacities.
Common Geo-Political Interests: India and Africa have common interests on international issues, UN reforms, counter-terrorism, peacekeeping, cybersecurity, and energy security.
Economic Cooperation: India’s economic engagement with Africa is substantive.
In the last decade and a half, trade between India and Africa has multiplied and diversified–bilateral trade of USD63.3 billion in 2018-19 made India the third-largest trading partner for the continent.
Support in Fight Against COVID-19: Under the e-ITEC initiative, India has shared Covid-19 management strategies, and training webinars exclusively to train healthcare professionals from Africa by Indian health experts.
India is also sending consignments of essential medicines, including hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and paracetamol, to many African countries in addition to doctors and paramedics.
India’s first high-level visit in Africa for 2022 took place and the following developments took place:
India announced the Phase-II upgrade of Entrepreneurship Development and Technology Centre (CEDT) in Dakar, built with Indian grant assistance.
India also offered a Special ITEC English proficiency course for Senegalese public servants.
India announced a Special training program for a batch of 15 Senegalese diplomats at Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Services.
African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA):
It was established in 2018.
AfCFTA seeks to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Continental Customs Union and the African Customs Union.
The AfCFTA preliminary work is on steps such as incremental tariff reduction, elimination of non-tariff barriers, supply chains and dispute settlement.
It is expected to boost intra-African trade by about USD35 billion by the end of 2022.
The larger market area will likely attract investment for continental infrastructure development.
The increased trade will create jobs, enhance Africa’s global competitiveness, improve social welfare and position Africa for greater industrialisation.