Africa Defense Forum
ADF is a professional military magazine published quarterly by U.S. Africa Command to provide an international forum for African security professionals. ADF covers topics such as counter terrorism strategies, security and defense operations, transnational crime, and all other issues affecting peace, stability, and good governance on the African continent.

African Union Joins G20 As Permanent Member


The group of the world’s 20 leading economies has welcomed the African Union as a permanent member, a powerful acknowledgement of Africa as its 54 countries seek a more important role on the global stage.

“Congratulations to all of Africa!” said Senegalese President Macky Sall, the previous AU chair who helped push for membership. The AU had advocated for full membership for seven years, spokesperson Ebba Kalondo said. South Africa had been the bloc’s only G20 member.

Permanent G20 membership signals the rise of a continent whose young population of 1.3 billion is set to double by 2050. With full G20 membership, the AU can represent a continent that’s home to the world’s largest free trade area. It’s also enormously rich in resources needed to combat climate change. Africa has 60% of the world’s renewable energy assets and more than 30% of the minerals key to renewable and low-carbon technologies. 

The AU’s chairmanship, which changes annually, also gets in the way of consistency, but Africa “will need to speak with one voice if it hopes to influence G20 decision-making,” Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, a former prime minister of Niger, and Daouda Sembene, a former executive director of the International Monetary Fund, wrote in Project Syndicate in 2023.

African leaders have shown their willingness to take such collective action. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they united in loudly criticizing the hoarding of vaccines and teamed up to pursue bulk supply purchases for the continent.

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