G20 bloc admits Africa Union after 24 years

AFTER 24 years of its formation, the Group of Twenty, known as G20, has formally admitted the African Union (AU) into its fold.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced this on Saturday, September 9, 2023, during the opening session of the G20 Summit held in New Delhi, India.

“I invite the representative of the African Union to take his place as a permanent member of the G20,” the Indian Prime Minister said before banging his gavel three times, attracting applause in the room.

The AU admission comes at a time when there are growing global rifts – effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has lasted for over a year, nearly three years post-COVID and, recently, the geopolitical tension in Africa over military juntas, to mention a few.

President Bola Tinubu had on Tuesday, September 5, travelled ahead of the summit to meet with Indian investors on the sideline of the G20 annual meeting held today and tomorrow, Sunday, September 10.

Tinubu, attending the summit as one of the nine guests, had nearly pulled $14 billion in investments from Indian investors, the special adviser on media and publicity to the President, Ajuri Ngelale, posted on his Twitter handle.

He quoted Tinubu as saying, “We are ready to give you the best returns for investment possible; there’s nowhere else like our country. Nigeria offers the best returns for investment today, so invest now.”

Among the anticipated investments, Indorama Petrochemical Limited pledged $8 billion to expand its fertiliser production and petrochemical facility in Eleme, Rivers State.

Jindal Steel and Power Limited, one of India’s largest private steel producers, committed to investing $3 billion and founding President of SkipperSeil Limited to invest $1.6 billion in the establishment of twenty 100 megawatts (mw) power generation plants across the states of Northern Nigeria.

Ngelale also said Indian firm Bharti Enterprises, interested in telecom, space communications, digital solutions, insurance, processed foods, real estate, and hospitality, will invest an additional $700 million.

Meanwhile, the AU makes it the second regional bloc after the European Union to become a permanent member of the G20 bloc.

The G20, comprising world economic powers, represents 85 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP), 75 per cent of international trade, and two-thirds of the world’s population.

    Founded on September 26, 1999, the G20 is a forum for finance ministers and central bank governors to discuss global economic and financial issues.

    The group was upgraded to the Head of State/Government level after the global economic and financial crisis of 2007 and 2009 and was designated the “premier forum for international economic cooperation”.

    Initially focused mainly on broad macroeconomic issues, it expanded its agenda to inter-alia, including trade, sustainable development, health, agriculture, energy, environment, climate change, and anti-corruption.

    The G20 comprises 19 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Türkiye, United Kingdom and the United States.

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