African Union Joins G20 

What should be its agenda?


In a very wise and historic move, the African Union becomes a permanent member of the G20 at its New Delhi summit hosted on the 8th of September.  This means that the group now represents 54 African countries, 27 EU countries and India Indonesia USA UK, Canada Turkey, Australia, Russia Germany Japan, China, Mexico, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, France Brazil, South Africa and South Korea. The G20 now represents 98 of the World’s 193 countries.

Core mandate

“The core mandate of the G20 is to promote economic growth and development,” India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said. “And that cannot advance if the crucial concerns of the Global South are not addressed.” The AU joining provides a giant leap forward in having a more inclusive economic forum. It is pertinent to point out that India China Russia and Brazil Russia India China and Brazil are all BRICS members and are also G20 members. It is hard to imagine BRICS countries moving in the opposite direction to the G20 in matters concerning economic development and the world order.

Invasion of Ukraine

As expected, the most contentious issue at the 2023 G20 summit concerned the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation. The declaration determined that – ‘Concerning war in Ukraine, all states must act in a manner consistent with purposes and principles of UN charter in its entirety and all states must refrain from threat or use of force to seek territorial acquisition against territorial integrity and sovereignty or political independence of any state. The declaration signed by Russia and China finally acknowledged that the conflict is a ‘war ‘and not a ‘special operation’ and the territorial integrity and political independence of any state must be respected. It is also reassuring the UN Charter remains preeminent in defining the world order.

Indicative agenda for the AU

But beyond the geopolitics, now that it is matter of historical fact that the AU has joined the G20, it’s crucial for the pan-continental entity to set an agenda that represents Africa’s interests effectively on the global stage. The Botswana Gazette is pleased to present an indicative agenda for the AU to pursue within the G20:

  1. Economic Growth and Development: Advocate for policies that promote sustainable economic growth and development in African countries, including access to finance, infrastructure development, and trade facilitation.
  2. Trade and Investment: Push for fair trade agreements that benefit African nations and encourage G20 members to increase investments in Africa, particularly in sectors that can spur job creation and industrialization.
  3. Debt Relief and Financial Stability: Advocate for debt relief initiatives to help African countries manage their debt burdens and work with G20 members to ensure global financial stability.
  4. Health and Pandemic Preparedness: Promote cooperation on health issues, including equitable access to vaccines, strengthening healthcare systems, and building resilience against future pandemics.
  5. Climate Change and Sustainability: Emphasize Africa’s vulnerability to climate change and seek support for climate mitigation and adaptation efforts, as well as sustainable development projects on the continent.
  6. Education and Skills Development: Highlight the importance of education and skills development in Africa and seek partnerships for improving educational access and quality.
  7. Infrastructure and Connectivity: Advocate for investments in infrastructure projects that can enhance connectivity within Africa and with the rest of the world, fostering economic growth.
  8. Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Promote gender equality and women’s empowerment as fundamental to economic and social progress and seek support for programs that address gender disparities.
  9. Peace and Security: Address regional conflicts and peacekeeping efforts, seeking support and cooperation from G20 members in resolving conflicts and promoting stability in Africa.
  10. Digitalization and Innovation: – Promote digitalization and innovation as drivers of economic growth and development in Africa, advocating for technology transfer and capacity building.
  11. Food Security and Agriculture: – Advocate for policies that enhance food security in Africa, including investments in agriculture, sustainable farming practices, and access to markets.
  12. Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship: – Emphasize the importance of youth employment and entrepreneurship for Africa’s future and seek support for initiatives that empower young Africans.
  13. Human Rights and Democracy: – Encourage respect for human rights, good governance, and democratic principles in Africa and share experiences and best practices with G20 members.
  14. Access to Education and Technology: – Advocate for affordable access to education and technology to bridge the digital divide and ensure African nations can participate fully in the global economy.
  15. Global Solidarity: – Promote a sense of global solidarity and cooperation, emphasizing that Africa’s development contributes to global stability and prosperity.
  16. Healthcare Infrastructure Investment: Advocate for increased investments in healthcare infrastructure across Africa, including the construction and upgrading of hospitals and clinics, to improve access to quality healthcare services and strengthen healthcare systems.
  17. Sustainable Energy Transition: Promote the transition to sustainable and clean energy sources in Africa, emphasizing renewable energy projects and energy efficiency measures, with a focus on addressing energy access challenges and reducing carbon emissions.
  18. Cultural Exchange and Tourism Promotion: Encourage cultural exchange programs and promote tourism as a means of boosting economic growth and fostering people-to-people connections between African nations and G20 member countries.
  19. Urbanization and Smart Cities: Address the challenges and opportunities of rapid urbanization in Africa by advocating for smart city initiatives that improve urban planning, infrastructure, and services to enhance the quality of life for urban populations.
  20. Data Privacy and Cybersecurity: Highlight the importance of data privacy and cybersecurity in the digital age, advocating for collaborative efforts to enhance cybersecurity measures and protect the personal data and digital infrastructure of African nations.
  21. International Cooperation in Research, Development, and Industrialization: Advocate for increased collaboration between African nations and G20 member countries in the fields of research, development, and industrialization. Promote knowledge sharing, technology transfer, and joint projects to drive innovation and economic diversification.
  22. eGovernment and Capacity Building: Support the digital transformation of African governments by promoting eGovernment initiatives. Encourage capacity building programs to enhance government institutions’ ability to harness technology for efficient service delivery, transparency, and citizen engagement.
  23. Coping with the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR): Recognize the challenges and opportunities presented by the 4IR and seek support from G20 members in building the necessary infrastructure and workforce capabilities to adapt to and thrive in the digital era. Promote policies that harness the benefits of emerging technologies.
  24. Supporting the UN Charter and World Order: Advocate for the adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter and the rule of law in international relations. Promote the peaceful resolution of conflicts, respect for sovereignty, and the pursuit of multilateral solutions to global challenges.
  25. Conflict Resolution and Peace Building: Address regional conflicts in Africa and seek the support and cooperation of G20 members in conflict resolution and peace-building efforts. Emphasise the importance of stability and security as foundational elements for sustainable development on the continent.


Building Africa’s future

The AU joining the G20 provides all African countries with another platform from which to build its future. This indicative agenda reflects a broad range of priorities that the AU could pursue within the G20, keeping in mind the diverse challenges and opportunities across the African continent. Effective representation and diplomacy will be key to advancing these goals within the G20 framework. It is essential that Botswana reconsiders and revamps its foreign policy and diplomatic effort to more effectively use the AU to leverage its own agenda.

For a full official text of the G20 Declaration see