The African Union has been granted permanent member status in the G20 as world leaders assembled in New Delhi for the two-day summit.
Indian PM Narendra Modi announced the African bloc as the newest member of the group.
G20 until now comprised Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK, the US and the EU.
The African Union, a bloc of 55 countries in the Africa continent, will have the same status as the European Union, a major player in global geopolitics.
India has been lobbying partner countries to expand global institutions to reflect the changing world, including a permanent seat for itself on the UN Security Council.
Mr Modi kick-started the two-day G20 Leaders’ Summit on Saturday, welcoming the world leaders and advising them to work to build trust with one another.
“With everyone's approval, I request the AU head to take his seat as a permanent G20 member,” Mr Modi said as he embraced Azali Assoumani, the President of the Comoros and serving African Union chairman.
The move comes as a push for India, which has been making efforts to be the voice of the global south, a term used to refer to developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Mr Modi wrote to the leaders of the G20 nations in June proposing to grant the African Union full, permanent membership of the bloc at this year's summit.
He said leaders should take the same approach to dealing with the Russia-Ukraine war – which has disrupted the global economy and food supply chains, and led to increased inflation – as they took to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Post Covid-19, the world has faced the biggest challenge of trust deficit. The war has further deepened this trust deficit. When we can win against Covid, we can also win over distrust,” Mr Modi said in his opening speech.
“This is the time to walk with everyone,” he said, adding the global issues such as “disruptions in global economy, the north and south divide, the distance between east and west, the management of food, fuel and fertiliser, terrorism and cyber security, health, energy and water security”.
“We have to move forward with solutions to these challenges for both the present and future generations,” the Indian Prime Minister said.