African Union Joins G20 After PM Modi Hugs Chief, Offers Him Seat At Table

"With support from all of you, I invite African Union to join G20," PM Modi said amid thunderous applause by world leaders at the Summit.

All member countries accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi's proposal

New Delhi:

The African Union (AU) on Saturday became a permanent member of the Group of 20 largest economies (G20) of the world with Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing its entry into the top global body.

In his opening remarks at the inaugural session of the two-day G20 Summit, PM Modi made the announcement welcoming the 55-nation AU as the new member of the grouping.

Shortly after the announcement, Union of Comoros President and AU chairperson Azali Assoumani took the seat as a full member of the G20.

"In keeping with the sentiment of sabka saath (with everyone), India had proposed that the African Union should be given permanent membership of the G20. I believe we all are in agreement on this proposal. With your agreement (he banged the gavel thrice)...," PMModi said.

"Before we start our work, I invite the AU president as a permanent member to take his position," he said.

In the last few years, India has been positioning itself as a leading voice flagging concerns, challenges and aspirations of the Global South or the developing nations, especially the African continent.

Prime Minister Modi has been leading from the front on the issue of the AU's membership of the G20. In June, PM Modi wrote to the G20 leaders pitching for according the AU the full membership of the grouping at its New Delhi summit.

Weeks later, the proposal was formally included in the draft communique for the summit during the third G20 Sherpas meeting that took place in Karnataka's Hampi in July.

The AU is an influential organisation comprising 55 member states that make up the countries of the African continent.

In an exclusive interview to PTI earlier this month, PM Modi said Africa is a "top priority" for India and that it works for the inclusion of those in global affairs who feel their voices are not being heard.

The G20 was founded in 1999 in response to several world economic crises.

The G20 member countries represent around 85 per cent of the global GDP, over 75 per cent of the global trade and about two-thirds of the world population.

Apart from the new member, the grouping comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the US and the European Union (EU).

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