African Union’s inclusion in G20: Who is helping whom?

by The Technical Blogs


The African Union joined the world’s elite group of G20 nations on September 9. The inter-governmental organisation comprises 55 member states located on the African continent and seeks to build “an Integrated, Prosperous and Peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens”.

The inclusion, while widely welcomed, has also led many to speculate about whether G20 took the decision to uplift the African continent or does the group now recognise the vast potential that lies in the region.

Africa has vast reserves of critical minerals, including aluminium, cobalt, copper, lithium and manganese. These minerals are essential for high-tech and green products like smartphones and solar panels. “Expanding energy supply chains into Africa is also an opportunity to accelerate climate action.

The continent has at least a fifth of the world’s reserves in a dozen metals critical for the energy transition — including about 19 per cent of those needed for electric cars,” the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development said in a report.

Nearly all countries in Africa are unique in their own way, heavily laden with minerals. South Africa is rich in coal, Libya is rich in petroleum, Mali has gold reserves, Morocco has phosphates, Burkina Faso has zinc, Kenya has titanium and the Democratic Republic of the Congo has cobalt and copper.

Country-wise minerals

In fact, Africa has 90 per cent of the world’s chromium and platinum reserves, 48 per cent of cobalt and manganese reserves, 40 per cent of gold reserves, and 22 per cent of global graphite reserves.

Share in global reserves.

Manganese is widely used as a battery material in the electric vehicle industry and cobalt is an essential component for lithium-ion batteries used in many electronic devices such as smartphones. Manganese reserves in Africa rose from 230 million tonnes in 2018 to 640 million tonnes in 2023. Also, Africa has 3.5 million tonnes of cobalt out of the 7.6 million tonnes of cobalt that the world has.

Manganese & Cobalt.

It is not that the world has recently explored the vast opportunities in Africa. Many African countries are registering economic growth much higher than advanced and emerging nations in other regions.

The International Monetary Fund’s April projections for real GDP growth for 2023 estimated Libya to grow at 17.5 per cent year-on-year, Senegal at 8.3 per cent, Congo at 6.3 per cent, and Ivory Coast and Rwanda at 6.2 per cent each in 2023.

In the same projection, India was expected to grow at 5.9 per cent, and the US at 1.6 per cent year-on-year.

GDP projections.

While Africa has been infamous for poverty, diseases, and malnutrition, its inclusion in the G20 is seen as a significant step for boosting the economies of various nations in the continent and improving living standards.

“Africa’s permanent membership of the G20 means it has been recognised as a key player on the world economic landscape. African countries must now leverage this position to accelerate the development of their economies and their young populations,” Hakainde Hichilema, President of Zambia, said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, South Africa has already been a part of the African Union and six Junta-ruled nations in the African Union — Sudan, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Niger and Gabon — are suspended.

Edited By:

Sudeep Lavania

Published On:

Sep 12, 2023


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