African Union integration into G20: what are the consequences?
by Vladimir Danilov on 27 Feb 2023 0 Comment

Perhaps the most significant step in the recent changes within the G20 was the move to include the African Union as a permanent member of this global association.


This step is significant because the G20 is inherently different from the G7, which has become a “club of selected supporters of the United States” thanks to Washington’s efforts. Members of the latter organization are attempting to develop and impose on the rest of the world policies and dictates that benefit only the West, and devise, in a “narrow circle of associates,” sanctions and other measures of restraint in regard to members of the global community who demonstrate their independence. And a striking confirmation of this is the fact that the G7, declared as the union of the world’s largest economies today, excludes China, the world’s already-recognized second economy.


The African continent is one largely composed of poor, developing countries that are actively working to unite their states into a single power, similar to the European Union. Africa owns 90% of the world’s platinum reserves, 50% of gold and diamond reserves, 33% of the world’s uranium reserves, and enormous reserves of oil, gas, manganese, chromite, and bauxite, all of which are essential to every country’s industry and economy.


Africa has a high population growth rate, with an average of 28 births per 1000 people, and the population of the continent is projected to reach 2.4 billion in 30 years! If Africa can solve, with the help of the international community, many of its problems as soon as possible, including hunger and health care, which is far behind the global level of development, the continent will transform from a problematic region into one of rapid economic growth.


It is not surprising then that academics and African economies have long called for the African Union to play a more active role not only in the activities of the UN Security Council, but also in international groups such as the G20. Its members are governments and the heads of their central banks from countries with developed or developing economies.


The European Union is the only regional organization that has received full membership in the G20 so far. However, this does not imply that it should be the sole representative of all regional organizations in the global economy. Furthermore, the African Union has made significant progress in regional economic integration in recent years and can represent the Global South as a regional forum in the G20. In fact, the EU can serve as the Global North’s regional representative.


Especially since developing member countries can best resolve the G20 group’s representation issue. Speaking of which, the three BRICS countries will preside over the G20 in the next three years: India in 2023, South Africa in 2024, and Brazil in 2025. As a result, a platform for regional integration agreements, regional development banks, and regional financial mechanisms, of which the G20 countries are members, can be created, which will unite regional association of the G20 members states, thus broadening the range of countries participating in anti-crisis efforts and other coordination initiatives. This may in the very near future become a very important step, quality-wise, not only for the final eradication – a process that began in the middle of the last century – of colonialism, which took the heaviest toll on the African continent through the fault of the West, but also, for the international community’s fair recognition of Africa as both the cradle of humanity, and also a significant player in international politics and economics.


However, while the US president and the European Union have publicly welcomed and supported the African Union’s inclusion in the G20 in recent days, there are very understandable reasons for this. The truth is, the United States and its Western allies are more concerned with China and Russia’s growing influence on the continent than with Africa itself. This was made abundantly clear by Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin’s speech at the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington in December, in which he publicly acknowledged US concerns that Moscow and Beijing are expanding their presence in Africa.


This has not been the first time that US officials have unfairly criticized Russia’s and China’s activities in Africa. For example, on the eve of the African Summit in Washington, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs Chidi Blyden told reporters that Moscow and Beijing’s policies allegedly endanger the security and welfare of African countries.


Previously, in August 2022, the Biden administration released a document titled “The US Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa,” which included unjustified attacks on Russia and China. It was specifically stated that Beijing “sees the region as an important arena to challenge the rules-based international order, advance its own narrow commercial and geopolitical interests, undermine transparency and openness, and weaken US relations with African peoples and governments.”


At the same time, Washington is deliberately silent on the fact that, unlike the US, Russia and China have been actively assisting African states in ending Western colonial oppression, creating the economy and social infrastructure in many African states, and training African scientific personnel in their educational establishments since the middle of the 20th century.


All the while the West continued to incite armed conflicts on this continent in order to remove unwanted African leaders from the political arena. A fate that befell Muammar Gaddafi, with whose overthrow Libya was plunged into protracted chaos and statelessness. Meanwhile, it was under Gaddafi’s leadership that the African Union came the closest to political and economic unification in the 2000s. For the longest time, this Libyan leader funded the African Union and actively promoted the creation of the United States of Africa.


However, despite the obvious intentions of the US and the West to tame and bring the African Union closer to itself by involving it in a joint association in the G20, these hopes will remain intangible and unfulfilled. After all, the current generation of African leaders cannot be bought for a handful of beads, which President Joe Biden “generously promised” to allocate to them in the form of $55 billion over three years at the US-Africa Leaders Summit in December.


Instead, he and the “Collective West” should have apologized to the African people for the era of slavery, and paid financial reparations to Africa. But anyway, how can Washington today find trillions of dollars to cover the true losses of African states from slavery and centuries of robbery, if it has long been in debt, paying off its partners with the Federal Reserve System-printed green candy wrappers that have long lost all value…


However, Africans, like many others, have a long memory. And therefore, by joining the world community through the G20, the African Union will certainly take not only its due place in the world, but also pursue a policy independent of Western dictate.


Vladimir Danilov, political observer, exclusively for the online journal “New Eastern Outlook.” Courtesy 

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