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AU to Receive Permanent G20 Membership

FILE — African leaders gather for a group photo at the African Union Summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Feb. 18, 2023.

JOHANNESBURG/NEW DELHI — Sources close to the African Union Thursday said the regional bloc is set to receive its membership into the Group of 20, the global trade bloc that comprises of the world’s richest and most powerful nations.

A top government official from South Africa, a G20 member, said the language for the induction of AU into the international trade bloc was up for discussion but could be resolved by Friday.

The South African official, who chose to remain anonymous until the decision was made public, however said there is a possibility that the resolution to grant AU membership could be vetoed.

Vincent Magwenya, South Africa’s presidential spokesperson said he "wouldn't comment now until the official announcement or post summit."

Germany, Brazil, and Canada have also voiced support for AU to receive its membership.

An AU official that chose to remain anonymous due to him not being authorized to speak on the subject said the regional body was being made a permanent member.

It remains unclear if the verdict would be announced at the annual G20 leaders' summit to be held in India's capital, New Delhi, over the weekend.

Speaking to Reuters, two Indian sources said AU's membership was expected to be formalized next year, when Brazil takes over the presidency of G20.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June wrote to the leaders of the G20 proposing that the AU be given full, permanent membership at this year's summit.

"Our presidency has not only seen the largest-ever participation from African countries but has also pushed for the inclusion of the African Union as a permanent member of the G20," Modi wrote in an article published across Indian and international newspapers on Thursday.

There were no objections against the move from any of the members, one of the Indian sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity citing government rules.

Should AU receive its G20 membership, the regional body would have the same status as the European Union - the only regional bloc with a full membership currently - up from its current designation of "invited international organization."

The G20 currently comprises 19 countries and the European Union. The members represent around 85% of global GDP, more than 75% of global trade and about two-thirds of the world population.