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Campaign Mounts for AU Inclusion at G20

FILE: President of Senegal Macky Sall addresses the 77th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters, Sept. 20, 2022.

Analysts say the attendance of African Union (AU) chair Macky Sall at the ongoing G20 summit is an indication of the significant role of the African continent in global geopolitics – a shift from the age-old rhetoric.

Africa is hoping to get a seat at the table of G20 wealthy nations.

Macky Sall, The AU chair who doubles as Senegal's president is attending his first G20 summit in the Indonesian province of Bali Tuesday.

Also, in attendance is Rwandan president Paul Kagame in his capacity as the African Union Development Agency (NEPAD) Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee. South Africa is the only African nation with a G20 membership.

African Climate Foundation Executive Director Saliem Fakir told VOA from the Sharm el-Sheik summit site that Sall’s participation demonstrates the crucial role of Africa.

"Symbolically, the fact that the African Union chair has been invited to the G20 meeting is very significant. It demonstrates that at least the G20 members consider the African Union as a bloc, an important player in global geopolitics," he said.

Fakir said a campaign to include the African continent on the list of G20 member states could be on Sall's agenda.

"There is a push by some experts to have the AU represented even if it is in an observer status within the G20," he said.

The African Climate Foundation’s analyst also said that the AU chair could use the opportunity to push G20 leaders to help efforts by Africans to tackle the climate crisis.

The continent contends with difficulty the hike in global warming even as it contributes less than 4 percent of global gas emissions, compared to wealthier nations like China, United States, India, Russia and Japan - G20 nations contribute 80 percent of global emissions.

The analyst says Sall is seeking to gain "increasing support for energy transitions, including the need for G20 leaders to push for a much more ambitious climate financing that can help efforts on the continent to deal with a range of issues like climate risks.’’

Fakir also noted the importance of Africa's presence in the G20 because of its substantial portion of the world's people.

"There are internal discussions to recognize the continent of Africa as an important region going forward," he said, "in the context that the continent will double its population by 2050. It will have a young population, and will have a quarter of the world’s population."

Malle Fofana, Africa director at the Global Green Growth Initiative in Ivory Coast told VOA that Sall's presence at the summit is ''quite relevant at this moment,'' because it's about time Africa was ''part of the equation.''

He said the AU chair must use the platform to draw the world’s attention to increasing food insecurity on the continent largely fueled by climate change.

"Access to food is also important to Africa. Sall must explore the types of resources we’ll need to help us become resilient. He must endeavor to clarify our priorities and how partnerships with developed countries can be a win-win for us."

He continued "I’d like Sall to push forward the climate adaptation (agenda). Globally, we talk about 3.8 billion people most vulnerable to climate adaptation, but in Africa more people suffer especially those who reside in rural areas. And so, a clear adaptation agenda to accelerate action on the continent is crucial."