The African Union (AU) has formally joined the Group of 20 top global economies, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Saturday.
“I invite the representative of the African Union to take his place as a permanent member of the G20,” Modi announced, before banging his gavel three times to applause in the room.
Modi then shook hands with Comoros President Azali Assoumani, the AU chair, gave him a warm hug and invited him to sit at the table.
The G20 is an elite group of the world’s most powerful and significant economies. The G20 Summit is holding in New Delhi, India — the first time it would be held in South Asia.
Its members represent 85 percent of global GDP, 75 percent of international trade and two-thirds of the world’s population.
US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and France President Emmanuel Macron are attending the summit which ends on September 10.
Some of the topical issues to be discussed are food security, debt restructuring for developing countries and climate change.
The summit is holding amid the war in Ukraine. Russia President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping opted not to show up, ensuring that there would be no awkward face-to-face dialogue sessions with their American and European counterparts.
The G20 is made up of 19 countries and the European union.
Member countries are the US, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea and Turkey.
The forum has held every year since its inception in 1999, after the global financial crisis of 1997-98.
The G20 plays a significant role in shaping and strengthening global architecture and governance on all major international economic issues.