The African Union formally joined the G20 on Saturday at the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The bloc’s expansion is a significant diplomatic success for Modi, who faces national elections next year and has exploited the forum’s hosting rights to bolster his image as an international statesman.
Modi received African Union chair and Comoros President Azali Assoumani with a hearty hug prior to his inaugural statement.
“India put a proposal to give permanent membership of G20 to the African Union. I believe that with we have everyone’s agreement on this,” Modi said in his opening address to the summit.
“With everyone’s approval, I request the African Union head to take his seat as a permanent G20 member,” he added, banging a ceremonial gavel.
Assoumani then took his seat among world leaders at the invitation of India’s foreign affairs minister S. Jaishankar.
Finding consensus among members has been increasingly difficult in recent years with deep divisions on the Ukraine war.
“The world has a huge crisis of trust,” Modi said in his opening remarks.
“War has made this trust deficit deeper. If we can defeat Covid, we can also conquer this mutual trust crisis.”