On the 21st of August 2023, on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit, Development Reimagined and the South African Institute of International Affairs hosted a panel discussion on the engagement of the African Union in the G20. The discussion was moderated by Ivory Kairo, and she was joined by an excellent panel of experts: Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki, Dr. Malanch Chakrabaty, Dr. Adeoye Akinola, Sara Hamouda and Elizabeth Sidiropoulos.
The inclusion of the African Union into the G20 has been a lively, ongoing discussion. However, at Development Reimagined we have now shifted our discussion to focus on the modalities and preparation once the AU becomes a member. In fact, Dr. Mayaki agrees with this sentiment, stating, “The African Union will be part of the G20”.
What was very clear from the discussion for Africa’s preparation is that Africa must have a common position. Africa must be bold and it must be deliberate, to have maximum impact in the G20 to table African priorities. On the implementation of decisions made by the G20, Africa was advised to consider how these decisions may impact the continent. Therefore, the AU must engage in diplomacy and negotiation for of the matters at hand.
However, before engaging with the G20, the AU is expected to have representation beyond the AU Chair and AU Commissioner. In particular, the AU must think about representation at the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ (FMCBG) Meeting. Normally, representation for the European Union is by the European Union Central Bank President and alongside European Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni, ECB’s President and Swedish Minister for Finance Elisabeth Svantesson represented the EU Council of Ministers at this year’s G20 FMCBG. The discussion brought out several options, such as the AfDB, Afreximbank, and African finance ministers.
Overall, the discussion generated robust solutions for the continent as it engages with the G20. Most importantly, Africa was reminded that it has its own route and cannot use the same methods of engagement as other G20 members do.
Watch the full discussion here: