Photos: YouTube Screenshots
It is with great joy and optimism that I join my fellow African brothers and sisters across the world to celebrate the African Union’s (AU) admission to participate in the Group of Twenty (G20) as a permanent member.
That Africa, a continent with a population of 1.3 billion and a strong and rapidly growing economy, now has a seat at the table of this critically important intergovernmental forum, 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.
I say this moment is one of great joy and optimism, for it was only last year that I spoke to this very topic as I addressed 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-disparagement. 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.
This is a good thing. But we cannot dare stop here. The African continent has a major role to play in shaping our 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.
Within the Caribbean Community (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.
Once again, on behalf of Barbados, and I am sure many in the African Diaspora, I celebrate this decision and commend the leaders of the G20 nations for seeing and embracing this vision. It 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.