In a historical turn of events, the African Union (AU) is edging closer to becoming a significant player in the global economic arena as it stands on the threshold of joining the G20. As the 18th G20 Summit unfolds in New Delhi, the world anticipates an event that could potentially transform it into the G21, with the AU’s formal inclusion.
Comprising 55 diverse nations, the AU’s potential membership in the G20 would mark an unprecedented achievement. It would rank the AU as the second-largest bloc within the G20, trailing only behind the European Union.
Notably, the recent publication highlighting Comoros’ affiliation with the Vanilla Islands has added an intriguing dimension to India’s strategic interests in the Indian Ocean. The Vanilla Islands, consisting of Comoros, Mauritius, Mayotte, the Seychelles, Madagascar, and Reunion, hold significant geopolitical relevance in the southwestern Indian Ocean region, having united in 2010.
Last week, G20 Sherpas convened for a pivotal three-day conference, culminating in a decision on the AU’s potential membership. The official announcement of this momentous choice is expected to be made on Sunday.
However, it’s essential to clarify that this declaration doesn’t guarantee immediate AU membership. The admission process is anticipated to be lengthy, with full member status likely to be achieved during the 19th G20 Summit, presided over by Brazil’s President, Luiz Inacio da Silva.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been a staunch advocate for the AU’s inclusion in the G20, garnering support from other G20 leaders. This aligns with the AU’s aspiration to attain full membership at the forthcoming Delhi summit.
Publicly available information reveals that the AU member nations collectively possess a GDP of approximately $2.26 trillion USD, potentially elevating the AU to the world’s 11th largest economy. Notably, countries like Russia and the United States have previously expressed support for the AU’s G20 membership, a sentiment voiced at the Bali Summit.
In June, Prime Minister Modi formally proposed the AU’s full membership to fellow G20 leaders, emphasizing the pivotal role of the AU in the global economic landscape. India underscores the significance of seizing the opportunity to promote inclusive development through the AU’s permanent G20 membership.
Furthermore, the G20’s outreach to the AU may serve as a geopolitical maneuver to counterbalance China’s expanding influence on the African continent. As the G20 extends its hand to the AU, the global competition for rare minerals, crucial for future energy sources, underscores the growing importance of Africa on the international stage.
As the world watches this historic development, the AU’s potential integration into the G20 could reshape global economics and geopolitics, marking a pivotal moment in history.