NEW DELHI: India’s role in securing a permanent position for the African Union in G20 during its year of Presidency has elicited high praise from the Chairperson of the Union, Azali Assoumani.
An ecstatic Assoumani said last month that India had risen to the status of a superpower, surpassing even China. This acknowledgment of India’s global stature was accompanied by expressions of optimism regarding future relations between India and the African Union.
The African Union has now got elevated from the status of Invited International Organisation in G20 to a full-fledged member, akin to the 27-nation European Union (EU). The membership of G20 would lead to a transformative shift in the realm of global governance with the African Union being able to play an active role in shaping global affairs.
A new world
Comprising 55 Member States representing the entirety of the African continent, the African Union operates across five distinct geographical regions. Its overarching mission is to foster unity, cohesion, and solidarity among African nations, with the vision of achieving peaceful coexistence and economic prosperity.
For India, the inclusion of the African Union in the G20 carries profound significance. It not only reaffirms India’s position as an important player in global governance but also underscores its commitment to championing inclusivity and diversity on the world stage.
Unity in diversity
This development goes beyond symbolism, signifying a strategic partnership that has been cultivated over years of collaboration spanning trade, education, healthcare, and technology. It presents a unique opportunity to forge a more diverse and representative platform, aligning seamlessly with India’s broader global vision of fostering a multipolar world.
Membership in the G20 empowers African nations, granting them a direct voice in addressing pressing global challenges, from economic growth to climate change and sustainable development.
The India-Africa trade volume, which reached nearly USD 100 billion in 2022-23, holds immense potential, with the capacity to double to USD 200 billion by 2030, taking into account the combined population of both regions, a staggering 3 billion people, offering a demographic advantage ripe for further trade expansion.
The timing of this development aligns with the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. Coupled with robust transportation and logistics networks, this agreement is poised to facilitate an upswing in bilateral trade between India and African nations.
As African countries set their sights on higher growth rates, the need for financing across various sectors, including trade, infrastructure, and development, becomes paramount. The IMF estimates Africa’s financing gap to be around USD 345 billion. India, through lines of credit extended by India Exim Bank, is actively bolstering financing for development projects, playing a crucial role in Africa’s sustainable economic resurgence.
Notably, infrastructure development takes center stage in Africa’s economic renaissance. As per the African Development Bank, the continent grapples with an infrastructure deficit of approximately USD 100 billion.