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Putin backs PM Modi’s pitch for G20 membership of African Union

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Russian President Vladimir Putin (File image courtesy: PIB)

A growing number of countries, including Russia, are now backing India’s call seeking African Union’s reinforced presence in international forums, especially in the G20 – the world’s premier forum for economic cooperation.

At a meeting with the top leaders of the continent on the sidelines of the Second Russia-Africa Summit which began in Saint Petersburg on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Moscow supports the African Union’s participation in the G20 as a full member.

“We talked about this today. We expect that the G20 will reach a decision on this matter, including with our support, at the summit in New Delhi in September. Objectively, this decision would reflect the constantly growing role of the African continent and its leading regional structures in international affairs,” said Putin.

Putin Africa
Russian President Vladimir Putin with leaders from the African continent on the sidelines of the Second Russia-Africa Summit in Saint Petersburg (Image courtesy: MFA, Russia)

New Delhi, which has always amplified the voice of the Global South, will be hosting the G20 Leaders’ Summit for the first time in September.

India’s G20 Presidency has the largest ever representation from Africa that includes South Africa (G20 member), Mauritius, Egypt, Nigeria, African Union (AU) Chair – Comoros, and African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD).

While all decisions of the G20, including on its membership, are taken by G20 members by consensus, India has maintained that it will continue to seek fair and balanced representation of developing countries in various multilateral fora.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi believes that the inclusion of African Union, which comprises of 55 nations, would further amplify the voices from emerging countries and the global south in G20 forum.

Last month, in a letter written to the leaders of G20 nations, PM Modi proposed that the African Union be admitted as a full member at the upcoming summit in New Delhi.

Not just that, Prime Minister Modi also made a strong pitch for African Union’s inclusion in the inflential G20 grouping while addressing the Joint Session of the United States Congress in Washington on June 23.

“As we emerge out of the pandemic, we must give shape to a new world order. Consideration, care and concern are the need of the hour. Giving a voice to the Global South is the way forward. That is why I firmly believe that the African Union be given full membership of G20,” PM Modi told the joint sitting of the US Congress.

From supplying the Made-in-India vaccines to several African countries during the peak of Covid-19 pandemic to supporting their fight against hunger and poverty and then assisting them in dealing with the implications of the situation in Ukraine, the Modi government has shown that it stands ready to support the countries affected in the continent.

Following in India’s footsteps, the United States, Japan and several other countries have also supported the idea of the African Union becoming a permanent member of the Group of 20 major economies.

Acknowledging the tremendous progress made with regard to admission of the African Union to the G20 under India’s ongoing presidency, the top leaders from the continent are hoping that the eventual accession will amplify the African voice and allow the organisation to make its own contribution to the solutions of the world’s problems.

Besides the heads of state/government of G20 members (United States of America, Russia, France, China, Japan, United Kingdom, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, and European Union), nine guest countries (Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, Spain and United Arab Emirates) and heads of 14 international organisations (ADB, ASEAN Chair, AU Chair, AUDA-NEPAD Chair, CDRI, FSB, ILO, IMF, ISA, OECD, UN, World Bank, WHO and WTO), and their accompanying delegations, have been invited to attend September’s G20 Summit in New Delhi.

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