By John Ikani
The African Union (AU) officially assumed its position as a fresh entrant into the G20 over the weekend, following the cordial invitation extended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
This enlargement of the group marks a significant diplomatic achievement for Modi, who is gearing up for national elections in the coming year. He has strategically employed the hosting privileges of this year’s summit to enhance his reputation as a global statesman.
Prior to delivering his inaugural speech, Modi warmly embraced the African Union’s chair and Comoros President, Azali Assoumani.
“India has proposed granting permanent G20 membership to the African Union. I believe that we have unanimous consent for this,” Modi affirmed during his opening address to the assembly.
With a consensus among the gathered leaders, he urged the African Union’s leader to take up a permanent seat within the G20, punctuating the moment with a ceremonial gavel strike.
Assoumani, following India’s Foreign Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s invitation, assumed his place among the assembly of global leaders.
Recent years have witnessed mounting challenges in reaching a consensus among G20 members, with deep-seated divisions over the Ukraine conflict.
In his introductory remarks, Modi highlighted a critical issue: “The world is grappling with a substantial trust deficit. The ongoing war has only exacerbated this deficit in mutual trust. Just as we have successfully combated Covid, we can also overcome this crisis of trust among nations.”