For the very first time since its inception, the Group of 20 (G20), a principal forum for international economic cooperation, saw an expansion in its membership. On a recent Saturday, the African Union (AU) was accorded permanent membership in the G20. The official announcement was made during the G20 summit that took place between September 9 and 10 in New Delhi, India.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, presiding over the summit, informed about the decision. He shared insights regarding a consensus that had been reached on a leaders’ declaration. India’s role in the international arena was apparent with the involvement of their Minister of External Affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who emphasized China’s supportive role in this significant event.
China’s presence and influence in this decision was palpable. Chinese Premier Li Qiang, during his speech at the first session of the summit, elucidated on the necessity for unity, cooperation, and inclusivity, rejecting division, confrontation, and exclusion. His words echoed a sentiment that resonates globally: the world needs to come together now more than ever.
Embracing Unity and Advancing Development Together
Li Qiang’s speech gravitated towards urging the G20 members to remember the foundational pillars of the group, emphasizing unity and cooperation. He asked the members to adopt a collaborative approach in addressing global challenges and issues, specifically in areas of economic recovery, open global cooperation, and sustainable development.
China, being an economic powerhouse, has been proactive in its contributions. It proposed the Global Development Initiative (GDI), a comprehensive plan to cultivate newer drivers for global development. The intention is clear: to facilitate shared growth and progression for nations worldwide. This initiative is not just a proposal on paper; it is a Chinese solution to advance global development.
As testament to its potential, the GDI has garnered immense support, with over 100 countries and international organizations acknowledging its significance. The Center for International Knowledge on Development of China released a report in June that showcased the popularity and acceptance of the GDI. A noteworthy aspect of this initiative is the formation of the Group of Friends, a platform that facilitates extensive consultation and encourages joint contribution. This platform has drawn nearly 70 countries, marking a significant stride in the institutional development of the GDI.
The launch ceremony of the report witnessed Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu emphasizing the pressing need to enhance the global allocation of development resources. His words were a call to action, encouraging mobilization of resources from diverse sectors: governments, businesses, academia, and civil societies. The core idea is to leverage the strengths of these sectors to uplift the developmental quotient of developing nations.
Ma Zhaoxu further addressed the responsibilities of developed countries, urging them to stay committed to their pledges regarding development and climate financing. China, leading by example, announced the establishment of a Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund, backed by a substantial $4 billion. In addition, plans are in motion to initiate a special fund worth $10 billion, specifically tailored for the implementation of the GDI.
The fruits of these efforts are already evident. Over 200 collaborative projects have been actualized, with extended cooperation in vital areas such as poverty alleviation, education, health, and more. This cooperative spirit is observed across regions – Asia, Africa, the Pacific islands, and the Caribbean.
A New Era for Africa in Global Dialogue
After prolonged advocacy, the historic day saw the AU joining the G20, an act symbolizing a bolstered African voice on the global stage. The significance of this cannot be understated. China, as a stalwart supporter of this inclusion, was the first nation to vocalize its endorsement for the AU’s entry into the G20.
Reiterating their unwavering support, last month, China reaffirmed its endorsement for the AU’s G20 membership, as documented in a joint statement post the China-Africa Leaders’ Dialogue. In a recent engagement, Chinese President Xi Jinping vocalized China’s dedication towards bolstering Africa’s voice in international matters. His words were pronounced during the China-Africa Leaders’ Dialogue held in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The benefits of the AU’s membership in the G20 are manifold. As put forth by AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, this inclusion furnishes an optimal platform to magnify advocacy for Africa. The continent can now contribute more efficiently to global challenges, leveraging this strengthened position.
In conclusion, the expansion of the G20 to include the African Union marks a pivotal moment in global economic cooperation. It underscores the importance of unity, collaboration, and mutual growth. As nations come together, pooling their strengths and resources, the potential for positive global transformation becomes limitless.