US president Joe Biden plans to announce at next week’s US-Africa summit that his administration supports adding the African Union as a permanent member of the Group of 20 nations, according to the White House.
The African Union represents the continent’s 54 countries. The G20 comprises the world’s major industrial and emerging economies and represents more than 80 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product. South Africa is currently the only African member of the G20.
“It’s past time Africa has permanent seats at the table in international organisations and initiatives,” the senior director for African affairs on the National Security Council, Judd Devermont, said in a statement on Friday.
“We need more African voices in international conversations that concern the global economy, democracy and governance, climate change, health, and security.”
Mr Biden has invited 49 African leaders to take part in the three-day Washington summit that starts on Tuesday.
The G-20 representation would allow African countries to more effectively press the group to implement its pledge to help the continent to cope with climate change.
South African president Cyril Ramaphosa, at last month’s G20 gathering in Indonesia, underscored the importance of African Union membership in achieving climate goals.
“We call for continued G20 support for the African Renewable Energy Initiative as a means of bringing clean power to the continent on African terms,” Mr Ramaphosa told the gathering. “This can be best achieved with the African Union joining the G20 as a permanent member.”
Mr Devermont said the announcement builds on the administration’s strategy toward Sub-Saharan Africa and its advocacy for adding permanent members from Africa to the UN Security Council.