Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes South African President Cyril Ramaphosa upon his arrival to pay respects at the Rajghat on the final day of the G20 Summit, in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)
For the first time after the Group of 20 large economies was founded in 1999, its members have agreed to admit another member — the African Union or AU. When the block that accounts for 80 per cent of production admits a new member for the first time after 24 years, it speaks for itself about its importance in the global geopolitics, which is increasingly being dictated by geopolitics.
Africa is known for many negative things — poverty, internecine warfare among its countries, poor infrastructure. It accounts for a mere 2.84 per cent of the global GDP, compared to China’s 19 per cent and India’s 9.3 per cent. In this background, one would wonder how Africa could contribute to the richest club in the world?
The answer lies in natural resources, which are spread across 55 countries which make up the African Union, and China’s attempts to create anti-Western block composed of Africa and South America, which have long been ignored by the western world or Global North, which continues to dictate global affairs.
By admitting the African Union as its member, the G-20 is treating AU on a par with the European Union, the only intergovernmental forum to have the membership of the G-20.
African countries, therefore, could see more value for a seat on the high table of the G-20 than any other forum led by emerging market economies like China. It would dissuade African countries from becoming camp followers for China like Pakistan.
Africa has another valuable asset — its young population. If this continent can put an end to its perpetual warfare, it can use its youth and natural resources to create a vastly larger market which no developed country would like to ignore.
India, which played a key role in getting Africa admitted to the G-20, can also use this achievement to position itself as the leader of the Global South, a tag which China aspires to have. Welcome to this new battleground of geoeconomics.