The African Union will be admitted to the G20, an Indian government adviser told The National on Thursday, quoting officials familiar with the matter. The African bloc of 55 member states will have the same status as the EU.
“This will probably be India’s biggest achievement, making G20 into G21," Anil Trigunayat, India's former ambassador to Jordan, Libya and Malta, told The National.
Mr Trigunayat also serves as a senior adviser on the Economic Council of India, an independent government advisory body.
"Australia have said they support the African Union’s inclusion. President [Joe] Biden has also supported it. There seems to be no irritants left as far as making it G21,” Mr Trigunayat said.
The move follows the expected expansion of the Brics grouping of countries, which is currently led by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, following a summit of the bloc in Johannesburg.
That summit also ushered in the potential membership of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Argentina, the UAE and Ethiopia, effective from the start of next year.
The African Union is currently regarded by the G20 as an “invited international organisation”. A number of states are currently suspended from the bloc, mostly those that have suffered military takeovers, including Niger, Sudan, Mali and Burkina Faso.
“55 countries being represented there, right now. It is only South African from among the African countries," Mr Trigunayat said, referring to the sole African member of the G20.
"India has invited Egypt. This is the next growth area in the world and this also gels well with India’s Global South initiative. This will become the biggest organisation both in the developing and the developed countries.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote to the leaders of the G20 nations in June proposing the African Union be given full, permanent membership of the bloc at the upcoming summit in the Indian capital.
The grouping currently comprises 19 countries and the EU.
The G20 this year has also invited nine non-member countries, including Bangladesh, Singapore, Spain and Nigeria, besides international organisations such as the UN, World Health Organisation, the World Bank and the IMF to the weekend summit in New Delhi.
The G20 leaders are expected to announce the decision during the summit, the Bloomberg report said.
Countries like Germany, Brazil, and Canada have also expressed their support for African Union membership to the G20.