During the 18th G20 Summit held in India, a historic decision was made to admit the African Union (AU) as a new member of the G20. This significant development comes merely three months after Indian Prime Minister Modi proposed the idea of AU’s inclusion.
The idea of admitting the African Union to the G20 was first presented in June, following Prime Minister Modi’s proposal to G20 leaders. It gained momentum after the ‘Voice of the Global South’ Summit in January 2023, where a majority of the AU’s 55 member countries participated. Prior to this, only one African nation, South Africa, was part of the G20. African leaders argued that, given Europe’s representation by both individual countries and the European Union, the AU deserved similar recognition.
The African Union (AU) is an intergovernmental organization comprising 55 member states from the African continent. Launched officially in 2002, it succeeded the Organisation of African Unity (OAU, 1963-1999) and is headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The AU is guided by the vision of “An Integrated, Prosperous, and Peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.” This vision sets a target to be achieved by 2063, marking the centenary of the OAU’s formation. Agenda 2063’s aspirations include:
To realize these goals, the AU has established a series of five 10-year plans, with the first plan running from 2014 to 2023.
The AU primarily concentrates on:
The AU strongly believes that conflict resolution is imperative for achieving prosperity. To this end, it established a Peace and Security Council in 2004, with the ability to intervene in conflicts, including genocide and crimes against humanity. The council can also authorize peacekeeping missions.
The AU’s diplomatic efforts have played a crucial role in resolving conflicts, such as brokering a peace deal between the Ethiopian Government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in South Africa in 2022.
One notable accomplishment of the AU is the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which became operational in 2021. With 54 member countries as signatories, AfCFTA is the world’s largest new free trade area since the establishment of the WTO in 1994. Its objectives include increasing intra-African trade through trade liberalization and regulatory harmonization. AfCFTA is projected to boost Africa’s income by $450 billion by 2035 and increase intra-African exports by more than 81%.