Could G20 or BRICS be Africa’s route to global influence?
The G20 is more representative, and African Union membership would provide direct access to the world’s largest players.
Africa lacks a permanent seat on the United Nations (UN) Security Council – a situation that will likely remain for a long time. Does membership of informal multilateral clubs like the G20 and BRICS offer Africa a useful alternative voice on global decisions?
In a world order shaken by Russia’s war against Ukraine, Africa needs more than ever to ensure it isn’t marginalised. This week at the G20 summit in Bali, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa called on his peers to give the African Union (AU) a permanent seat in the club.
He noted, for example, that continued G20 support for the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative ‘as a means of bringing clean power to the continent on African terms’ could best be achieved with the AU as part of the G20.
South Africa is currently the only African member of the group. And Senegal’s President Macky Sall, who attended the summit ex-officio as current AU chairperson, repeated his previous calls for the AU to be admitted. In September, he told the UN General Assembly that the AU should be ‘granted a seat within the G20, so that Africa can, at last, be represented where decisions are taken that affect 1.4 billion Africans.’
Both Ramaphosa and Sall announced in Bali that Chinese President Xi Jinping had backed their call for AU membership. French President Emmanuel Macron also said he supported the proposal. Sall said the G20 agreed to discuss the matter at its summit next year.