The Indian presidency of the G20 during the year has turned out to be quite a successful endeavour despite the leadership encountering several challenges from the global community on the backdrop of the USA-China differences as well as the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. To its credit, the Union Government’s and especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal intervention, time, and energy to ensure the G20 Summit culminates without any major challenges in the way of the final declaration helped big time. That the Indian leadership could ensure consensus from differing and dithering members representing the altered global equations speaks volumes about the Prime Minister’s increased heft among the global leaders.
PC – PTI
One of the biggest takeaways from the recently concluded G20 Summit in New Delhi is the unanimously agreed upon inclusion of the African Union as a permanent member of the group. Mind you, the inclusion of the AU as a permanent G20 member is an Indian initiative that comes with big geopolitical ramifications. Make no mistake, Africa is potentially seen as the next global growth hub with so many promises being showcased of late. Additionally, it has always been a massive reservoir of natural resources. Morocco has the largest phosphate reserves in the world, the Democratic Republic of Congo is endowed with huge deposits of cobalt, and Nigerian gas can power all of Europe. However, hitherto Africa had little say at the global high table.
This situation will change in the coming years if the AU gets enough wriggling space in the global forums to push its case ahead. Thus, it is this imbalance that the G20 inclusion of AU will look to address. Of course, this is also a huge win for India. The latter’s Africa outreach has witnessed several crests and troughs over the decades. But sustained efforts have materialized in recent years with India trying to position itself as a viable alternative development partner to China. In fact, this is even visible on the defence front with India and Africa conducting the first-ever joint army chiefs’ conclave earlier this year. India is also emerging as a key defence supplier to Africa to Seychelles, Mauritius, and Mozambique ranking as the top three importers in recent years.
PC – Geeta Mohan
Add to this, ongoing projects in healthcare, education, and solar power generation in Africa. The G20 inclusion of AU adds fresh momentum to India-Africa ties that must be capitalized upon. First, the two sides should quickly finalise the dates of the much-delayed fourth India-Africa Forum Summit. Second, India needs to exert greater efforts in Francophone Africa where its presence has been traditionally weaker. And third, initiatives like the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor need greater energy. Note that speed is of the essence in Africa, as China has shown in recent times. After the G20 success, India should get cracking if it wants to reap the African dividend. Knowing how PM Modi is invested in the Global South outreach, India will step up the pace of reaping dividends.