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G20: A Forum for Developing World

  • 11 Sep 2023
  • 11 min read

This editorial is based on the Article How India made G20 a forum for developing countries which was published in The Indian Express on 11/09/2023. It talks about the inclusion of the African Union in G20 as an achievement of India’s Presidency and reflects its commitment to the developmental agenda of the Global South.

For Prelims: African Union, G20, India’s G20 Presidency, European Union, LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment), Development Cooperation with Africa, Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030, Climate Finance and Technology Transfer, International Financial Institutions Reform, AfCFTA, Renewable Energy and Digital Economy, Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience, Startup 20 and Innovation, Women-led Development, Global South, Sustainable Development Goals, Launch of Global Sovereign Debt Roundtable, global biofuel alliance, Export-Import Bank of India, Pan-African e-Network Project, India-Africa Forum Summit, India-Africa Health Sciences Platform, International Solar Alliance, Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, Nalanda University, GDP, United Nations (UN), Commonwealth, Francophonie.

For Mains: Bilateral Groupings and related issues, India's Interests on the global stage, Effect of Policies and Politics of Countries on India's interest

The 18th G20 Summit, hosted by New Delhi in September 2023, witnessed a historic expansion of the group with the admission of the African Union (AU) as a permanent member. The AU, a continental body of 55 member states, now has the same status as the European Union, the only regional bloc with full membership.

  • The move was proposed by India in June 2023 and welcomed by the AU and other G20 members. The inclusion of the AU in G20 is an achievement of India’s Presidency and reflects its commitment to the developmental agenda of the Global South.

What is Development Cooperation Under India’s G20 Presidency?

What are the Advantages and Opportunities for Africa After Inclusion in G20?

  • The inclusion of the AU in G20 is a significant step towards more inclusive and representative global governance. The AU represents a continent with 1.4 billion people and a collective GDP of USD 3 trillion.
  • Africa is also one of the fastest-growing regions in the world, with a projected growth rate of 4.1% in 2023.
  • Africa’s voice and perspective are essential for addressing global challenges such as poverty eradication, climate change, health security, digital transformation, trade facilitation, debt sustainability, and peace and security.
  • The inclusion of the AU in G20 also offers benefits and opportunities for both Africa and G20 members.
    • For Africa, it provides a platform to advance its common interests and aspirations on the global stage, such as
      • the implementation of Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030,
      • the operationalization of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA),
      • the mobilization of climate finance and technology transfer, and
      • the reform of international financial institutions.
    • For G20 members, it opens new avenues for cooperation and partnership with Africa in various sectors such as infrastructure development, renewable energy, digital economy, health care, education, agriculture, tourism, and culture.
      • It also enhances mutual understanding and trust among G20 members and African countries.

What are the Challenges Africa and the World Will Face in its Engagement with G 20?

The inclusion of the AU in G20 also poses some challenges and requires some actions to ensure its effectiveness and sustainability. Some of these challenges are:

  • The AU will have to coordinate its positions and priorities with its member states and regional economic communities to ensure coherence and consistency in its engagement with the G20.
  • The AU will have to strengthen its institutional capacity and human resources to participate effectively in the G20 processes and meetings across various tracks and work streams.
  • The AU will have to balance its commitments and obligations with other regional and global platforms such as the African Union Commission (AUC), African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), United Nations (UN), European Union (EU), Commonwealth, Francophonie, etc.
  • The AU will have to manage its expectations and interests with those of other G20 members who may have different agendas and perspectives on various issues.
  • The AU will have to ensure that its participation in the G20 leads to tangible outcomes and benefits for Africa’s development.

Way Forward:

The AU should establish a dedicated mechanism or unit within its structures to coordinate its engagement with the G20. This mechanism or unit should liaise closely with the AUC, AUDA-NEPAD, regional economic communities, member states, civil society, the private sector, and other stakeholders to formulate and communicate Africa’s positions and priorities on the G20 agenda.

  • The AU should seek technical and financial support from the G20 members and other partners to enhance its capacity and resources to participate effectively in the G20 processes and meetings.
  • The AU should also leverage its existing partnerships and platforms such as the India-Africa Forum Summit, the Africa-EU Partnership, the Africa-China Forum, etc. to mobilize support for its G20 engagement.
  • The AU should align its G20 engagement with its existing frameworks and strategies such as Agenda 2063, Agenda 2030, AfCFTA, etc.
  • The AU should also ensure coherence and complementarity between its G20 engagement and its other regional and global engagements such as the AUC, AUDA-NEPAD, UN, EU, Commonwealth, Francophonie, etc.
  • The AU should adopt a constructive and pragmatic approach in its G20 engagement, seeking common ground and consensus with other G20 members on various issues. The AU should also be flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances and emerging challenges in the global arena.
  • The AU should monitor and evaluate its G20 engagement, measuring its impact and outcomes on Africa’s development. The AU should also disseminate and communicate its G20 engagement to its member states and other stakeholders, highlighting its achievements and challenges.


  • The inclusion of the AU in G20 is an achievement of India’s Presidency and reflects its commitment to the developmental agenda of the Global South. It is also a recognition of Africa’s importance and potential in the global economy and governance. The AU should seize this historic opportunity to advance its interests and aspirations on the global stage while contributing to the global public good.

Drishti Mains Question

Analyze the role and significance of the G20 as a forum for global governance and development. Discuss the achievements and challenges of India’s G20 Presidency in 2022-23, with special reference to its engagement with Africa.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year’s Questions (PYQs)


Q. In which one of the following groups are all four countries members of G20? (2020)

(a) Argentina, Mexico, South Africa, and Turkey
(b) Australia, Canada, Malaysia, and New Zealand
(c) Brazil, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam
(d) Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea

Ans: (a)


Q. If the last few decades were Asia’s growth story, the next few are expected to be Africa’s. In light of this statement, examine India’s influence in Africa in recent years. (2021)

Q. How does India see its place in the economic space of rising natural resource-rich Africa? (2014)

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