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G20 Turns G21 as African Union Becomes a Permanent Member

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the African Union to take a seat as a permanent member at the start of the G20 summit in New Delhi, marking the first expansion of the group since its formation as a group of 20 major economies in 1999.

Africa is growing fast economically, with six of the world’s fastest-growing countries located there. India believes that by including the AU in the G20, it can help Africa grow even more and make sure everyone gets a fair chance to develop.


The leaders of the G20 member countries, along with the special guests, disembarked from their vehicles and took a brief walk for a minute to receive a warm welcome from Modi, standing in front of a backdrop of the Konark Temple Wheel.

In his inaugural remarks, Modi said that there was agreement to India’s proposal that the African Union be given permanent membership. “With the consent of all of you, move ahead,” he said, as he rapped the gavel three times.

The stage is set for a historic moment as the African Union (AU) is poised to become a part of the G20. President Azali Assoumani of Comoros has already arrived in New Delhi to participate in the 18th G20 Summit, a gathering that is expected to be renamed as G21 when the African Union officially joins the bloc.

The idea of the AU joining the G20 came up during a recent meeting of important people from G20 countries. They agreed that it’s a good idea, but it won’t happen right away. It will take a few months and will become official during the 19th G20 Summit. India’s Prime Minister, Mr. Modi, has been talking to other leaders in the G20 to get their support for the AU’s membership.

So, why is this so important? Well, the countries in the AU together makes them the 11th biggest economy in the world. This means they have a say in important global financial decisions. Countries like Russia and the United States already said they like the idea of the AU joining the G20.

Africa is growing fast economically, with six of the world’s fastest-growing countries located there. India believes that by including the AU in the G20, it can help Africa grow even more and make sure everyone gets a fair chance to develop.

In June this year, Modi wrote letters to his G20 counterparts to “propose that the African Union be given full membership at the upcoming Delhi Summit of G20, as requested by them”.

The lack of any public opposition was not surprising as all the major powers, from China to US, Japan, Russia and India, have a common policy of wooing the world’s largest regional bloc. While there may have been concerns that it could lead to similar demands from other regional groups to join the G20, they were not aired and the proposal gained momentum.


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