G20 Summit |‘Significant Stride’: Why a Permanent Seat for African Union Matters

PM Modi welcomed the African Union as a permanent member of G20 during day 1 of the G20 summit in New Delhi.

2 min read

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, 9 September, welcomed the African Union as a permanent member of G20 during the first day of the multilateral summit in New Delhi.

Calling the Union’s inclusion a “significant stride,” Modi said that this paves the way for a “more inclusive global dialogue.” He added that collaborative efforts between the G20 nations will “benefit not only our respective continents but also the entire world.”

Here’s why the inclusion of the African Union into G20 is a big deal.


The Big Numbers: The African Union comprises 55 member nations from the African continent. The only country to have been a part of the G20 previously from the AU was South Africa. However, 54 countries of the AU are already a part of the United Nations. 

With the Union joining the G20, a GDP of USD 3 trillion is added with 1.4 billion collectively. 

PM Modi had been pushing for AU's inclusion to the G20 since the very beginning of India's presidency, and with it finally being done on Day 1 of the summit, a significant milestone has been reached.

Stepping Into Troubled Waters Or Moving Towards Inclusivity? Experts seem to be divided on what this inclusion means for AU though. There are some things working in the Union’s favour:

  • One is of course that six African countries recently became a part of BRICS giving them stronger ground in the G20 as well.

  • It gives more space to African countries on issues like global tax reforms, debt reliefs, climate change discussions, etc. 

The AU is, however, not entering the G20 at the best of times, an analysis by Nigeria’s Premium Times suggests. 

  • With the G20 already divided on multiple lines (Russia-Ukraine conflict, US vs China, etc),a question mark is also raised on the AU’s inclusion since not all countries part of the Union have a similar stand on many of these issues. 

  • Another point is that unlike the European Union, the African Union does not have a common or coherent foreign policy. 

  • The AU would also be required to reach a consensus on other issues that have often been brought up in G20 summits, North Korea’s nuclear weapons, for instance. 

What Leaders Said: Kenyan President William Ruto, welcoming this inclusion, said that this will increase “Africa’s visibility on the global stage” and “provide a platform to advance the common interest of our people.”

Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema took to microblogging site X (formerly Twitter) to write, “Africa’s permanent membership of the #G20, means it has been recognised as a key player on the world economic landscape.”

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