Biden to back African Union spot in G20 at US-Africa summit

The United States is expected to discuss the African Union’s role in the Group of 20 nations at a three-day summit in Washington, DC.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa shakes hands with US President Joe Biden at the White House
US President Joe Biden greets South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa in Washington in September. South Africa currently is the only African member of the G20 [Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters]

US President Joe Biden will back a permanent spot for the African Union in the Group of 20 major economies, seeking to elevate the continent’s role, the White House said.

Biden will make the announcement during a three-day US-Africa Summit that opens on Tuesday in Washington, DC, where the United States will commit to the continent after inroads by China and Russia.

“It’s past time Africa has permanent seats at the table in international organisations and initiatives,” Judd Devermont, senior director for African affairs at the National Security Council, said on Friday.

“We need more African voices in international conversations that concern the global economy, democracy and governance, climate change, health and security,” said Devermont.

About 50 African leaders are expected to join Biden for the December 13-15 series of meetings, in which the US is expected to discuss the African Union’s role with India – the G20 president for 2023.

Biden’s pledge comes after he threw his support behind the expansion of the United Nations Security Council, including representation of Africa, during a speech to the world body in September.

While few expect quick changes at the Security Council, the stance pits the US against China and especially Russia, which are seen as opposed to any move to dilute their veto power.

The Biden administration has backed the African Union’s diplomatic role on the continent and sought warm ties with the bloc’s current chair, Senegalese President Macky Sall, who is expected at the Washington summit.

Host Indonesia invited Sall to take part in the latest G20 meeting last month in Bali.

South Africa currently is the only African member of the G20, which was launched in its current form during the 2008 financial crisis to bring together the world’s top economies.

Biden met South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on September 16 at the White House, as South Africa and many of its neighbours have staked out neutral ground on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies