New York [US], May 10: Africa’s participation in the ongoing G20 presidency under India has been the highest ever, the Permanent Representative of India to the UN, Ruchira Kamboj said.
The G20’s focus on Africa has been consistent in recent years. However, India’s G20 Presidency is very unique given India’s track record of amplifying the voice and concerns of the Global South and developing countries.
The Ambassador pointed this out while she was addressing the ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development 2023. The 2023 ECOSOC Financing for Development (FfD) Forum was held from April 17-20 at UN Headquarters in New York.
Additionally, the numerous G20 meetings being held in India are also striving to address the challenges of the Global South and the world in general. India, with its ‘Voice of the Global South Summit’ and other measures, has managed to provide a larger representation of the issues, concerns, and aspirations of the African region.
India’s priorities, such as inclusive digital infrastructure and climate change, and the various issues it is deliberating, such as multilateral reforms, food and energy security, counter-terrorism, new and emerging threats, global skill mapping, and disaster risk reduction, among others, are of particular interest for the African region.
Notably, the developments undertaken in the health and education domains by the G20 are also significant for African nations. Prioritising reforms of multilateral development banks is yet another issue that is crucial for India and the Global South. Further, as said by Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj, “Digital technology can be a key tool for inclusion, advance governance, better service delivery and promote inclusion of all sections of society.” The G20 has been working on Digital Public Infrastructure and Digital Skilling as key priority areas.
Africa represents the voice of around 1.37 billion people, and leaving them out of the decision-making table is detrimental to global sustainable economic growth.
According to a report by Gurjit Singh of the Observer Research Foundation, India’s G20 presidency can potentially give India’s Africa policy a further fillip. A refurbished Africa policy will burnish the G20 Presidency with India as the voice of the Global South (VOGS).
During the Modi years, the successful India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS III) with the participation of all 54 African countries, started revitalising the Africa policy. Modi’s visits to Africa in 2016 and 2018 and the enunciation of the 10 principles for Africa in Uganda in 2018 were important initiatives. These require a post-pandemic and post-Ukraine crisis reassessment. Signs of this are visible, with the External Affairs Minister (EAM) visiting Uganda and Mozambique. When in South Africa for the BRICS ministers meeting, he will have the opportunity to visit other African countries.
Since India is the voice of the Global South, speaking up for Africa, in particular, is important. Africa suffered deeply from the consequences of the pandemic and the Ukraine conflict. The participation of African countries in the VOGS summit showed their expectations and the potential for the fulfilment of the said expectations through India’s G20 presidency.
India and Africa have had a long and thriving partnership and shared strong civilizational and historical links. Anti-colonial solidarity, diasporic goodwill, and the principle of ‘South-South’ cooperation, among others, are also playing a significant role in strengthening the partnership between India and the African continent, NewsonAir underlined.
The statement made by India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar that India believes Africa’s growth and progress is intrinsic to global rebalancing itself justifies that African development is significant for India’s Foreign Policy.
Notably, India’s engagement with Africa has been consistent and regular in recent years. India allocated Rs 250 crore for African countries in its Budget for 2023-24.
Further, India’s bilateral trade with Africa is around USD 89.5 billion in 2021-22, and its cumulative investments are USD 73.9 billion from 1996-2021, thereby making India among the top five investors in Africa.