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African Union's G20 Entry Driven by Need to Reflect New Multipolar Reality, Expert Says

© Sputnik . Ramil Sitdikov / Go to the mediabankNew Delhi awaits the G20 summit
New Delhi awaits the G20 summit - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 12.09.2023
On Saturday, the opening day of the G20 summit in New Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the African Union's admission as a full member of the group. African leaders hailed the step, saying it would give the continent "a voice."
The African Union's accession to the Group of Twenty (G20) stems from the need by international organizations to respond to the new geopolitical landscape, Professor Zwelethu Jolobe, Head of Political Studies Department and Associate Professor of Political Science at Cape Town University, told Sputnik Africa.
In particular, as the professor pointed out, the argument relates to the need to engage African countries that did not have sovereignty when the multilateral structures were formalized.

"The way in which international organizations are designed today, was designed at a time when a lot of African countries were not sovereign, which meant that there was no important African representation within these [structures]. Now you have a very different international society and all of these international organizations and institutions need to reflect the reality of the way the world looks now as opposed to how the world looked after World War Two," Jolobe explained.

According to the scholar, the AU's inclusion in the G20 was also prompted by the world's accelerated transition to multipolarity, which "is happening at a much quicker pace than people might have initially anticipated." Therefore, if international institutions do not take into account the new geopolitical reality, they will "in time become irrelevant, and then obviously in time, obsolete," Jolobe stressed.

"All international organizations need reform. And at the heart of any reform is that they have got to be representative of the way in which the world really looks like, as opposed to how maybe the world looked like 10 or 15 years ago," the expert said adding that "the stability and the prosperity of the world order is in part dependent on having strong multilateral institutions."

More broadly, Jolobe noted that discussions about a "more meaningful representation" of Africa in multilateral organizations have been in progress for a long time, and the G20 entry was made possible by the Global South's growth over the past decade.

More meaningful representation is needed for developing countries to combat such pressing problems as global economic inequality, the problem of war, the problem of climate change and the problem of poverty, the expert remarked.

In this context, Jolobe noted that the AU's accession to the Group of 20 will diversify the political orientation of the bloc and bring about more multilateralism to the organization, since "we are beginning to see a lot of countries that previously were marginalized, increasing their voice on the one hand."
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, right, shares a light moment with African Union Chairman and President of the Union of the Comoros Azali Assoumani upon his arrival at Bharat Mandapam convention centre for the G20 Summit in New Delhi, India, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023. - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 10.09.2023
These BRICS Countries Could Benefit from African Union Membership in G20, Expert Assumes
According to the expert, the current, and more representative G20 creates the potential for better diplomatic problem-solving. The expert cited the example of the the G20 Summit declaration in India, where the participating countries agreed to the provisions on the Ukrainian crisis that would have been impossible to achieve at the UN.
"It is a positive thing because you would never have it in the UN, in the UN you would just veto it and then it's over, you can move on to the next thing," Jolobe pointed out.
However, the professor warned that the aspirations for the G20's political diversification might face pushback from the collective West.

"And obviously within the context of that collective West, it is Washington that has got the most to lose from it. Just from my point of view, I don't think that the Europeans are as resistant to it as Washington is," the scholar pointed out.

New Delhi hosted the G20 Summit on September 9-10. The leaders of all G20 countries and nine other states (Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, Nigeria, the Netherlands, Spain, the UAE, Oman and Singapore) were invited to attend the top-level event. The Russian delegation to India was headed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.