BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Barbados prime Minister Mia Mottley has welcomed the decision of the G20 countries to add the African Union (AU) as a member, saying Africa a continent with a population of 1.3 billion has a strong and rapidly growing economy.
The Group of 20 top world economies added the AU at its annual summit held in India last weekend making it the second regional bloc to become a permanent member after the European Union.
“It is with great joy and optimism that I join my fellow African brothers and sisters across the world to celebrate the AU’s admission to participate in the G20 as a permanent member,” Mottley said, adding that its admission “is not only an admission of Africa’s rightful place amongst the world’s prominent economic leaders, but it is a truly significant step towards creating a better tomorrow, by creating a more inclusive and equitable global community today”.
Mottley said that the admission is one of great joy and optimism, for it was only last year that she spoke to this very topic in an address to Ghana and all Africans during Ghana’s 65th Independence Day celebrations in Accra.
“There, I followed others and yet again called on the world to recognize that the G20 could not remain as it was. It needed to become the G21 and recognize and respect the rise of Africa, and its people, as a global leader.
“While long overdue, this invitation is not a moment about boasting or self-aggrandizement. No, this is a moment where the world, which faces a multiplicity of crises, can now properly address the challenges of today and tomorrow, by including all people from all places,” she adding “this is a good thing. But we cannot dare stop here”.
Mottley said that the African continent has a major role to play in shaping shared future, whether it be matters related to the economy, finance, migration, global public health, the climate crisis, poverty alleviation, or sustainable development.
“And it is for that reason that Africa must have a seat at not only the G20, but also the United Nations Security Council and any other major global decision-making forum. This is how we will secure the world’s future with an inclusive approach.”
She said within the 15-member regional integration movement, CARICOM, “we have understood the importance of this inclusive approach, leading to the strengthening of our relationship with Africa within recent years.
“This moment is particularly joyful for us as less than a week ago, on September 7, we celebrated Africa-CARICOM Day, recognizing the historical and cultural links that exist between Africa and the Caribbean Community, and reflecting our growing partnership”.
Mottley said membership into the G20 “is a step forward that amplifies the voices of African people, and acknowledges the rich diversity, culture, and heritage that they bring to the global stage.
“May this G21 be the foundation of greater cooperation and progress, and may it be that beacon of hope the world needs as we go now into an uncertain future,” she added.