African Union President Macky Sall claims to have submitted the institution's candidacy for a seat at the next G20 summits.
It's an eternal question. But that deserves a quick answer. During a speech during the 77th General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) in New York, the President of the African Union (AU) Macky Sall asked why this same AU did not have a seat in the within the G20. It is, according to him, essential “so that Africa can, finally, be represented where the decisions are taken which engage 1,4 billion Africans”.
A file in which Macky Sall seems to have already advanced, since he thanked “warmly the partners who have already expressed their support to us” and invited “the others to consider our candidacy favorably”.
An “unacceptable” oversight
The next G20 summit will begin on November 15 in Bali, Indonesia. Without Africa, therefore, which remains undeniably the great absentee from this “group of 20” richest countries. Several attempts to involve the continent have already taken place. As in 2008, when there was talk of Africa being able to send a representative as an observer to the G20 summit in Washington. But in reality, according to our sources, no official request had been made.
Congolese President Denis Sassou N'Guesso had at the time asked "on behalf of all African heads of state" for an invitation to the G20 and deemed it "unacceptable for Africa to be sidelined". But the Congolese head of state had only obtained the support of seven African presidents.
The only exceptions are in London in 2009 and in 2017 in Germany. At a G20 summit in Germany, Macky Sall, then simply president of Senegal, and Alpha Condé, who chaired the AU, had been invited by Angela Merkel. The German Chancellor was seeking at the time to lay the foundations for a “partnership with Africa”.
Occasional invitations sent to the AU
The fact remains that since then, Africa has not participated more than before in important decisions, which nevertheless have an impact for it. Why does this have to change? “Africa's population will double by 2050 to reach at least 2,5 billion people, and half of this population will be under 25 years old. Africa is on the way to becoming the most dynamic and youngest continent on the planet,” says Friederike Röder, director of the NGO One France, which campaigns for an African presence at the G20.
Last July, Macky Sall had already affirmed that, "by omitting most of Africa, the G20 compromises its effectiveness and its influence". He recalled the “occasional” invitations from the AU and congratulated the G20 for “devoting increasing attention to African concerns and global issues affecting Africa”. But according to him, the continent needed to be more involved. Will he be heard before the November summit?