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EU to take advantage of Putin and Xi's absence at G20 summit to influence Africa - Bloomberg

EU to take advantage of Putin and Xi's absence at G20 summit to influence Africa - Bloomberg The EU will use the summit to influence Africa (Photo: Getty Images)

The European Union plans to take advantage of the absence of Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin at this week's G20 summit in India to intensify its engagement with countries from the so-called Global South through high-level meetings with African leaders, according to Bloomberg.

Since the presidents of China and Russia are not attending the two-day meeting in New Delhi, the EU wants to seize the opportunity, according to anonymous sources familiar with the preparations. They say that the bloc of 27 countries aims to demonstrate its commitment to reevaluating its partnership with Africa despite the heavy legacy of colonialism.

Among those expected to participate are Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of Germany. On the African side, the participants will include leaders from South Africa, a member of the G20, Egypt, Nigeria, and the Comoros Islands, the current heads of the African Union, sources said.

What is referred to as a "mini-summit" comes against the backdrop of increasing competition for global influence amid the US-China rivalry and differences over Russia's war with Ukraine.

While China and Russia influence African countries, appealing to anti-colonial sentiments, Putin's exit from the Black Sea grain deal has hit developing countries hardest, potentially leaving Europe with an opportunity to influence countries that have refused to condemn Russia's war.

Sources say that at the India summit on September 9, European leaders want to support the African Union's bid for permanent membership in the G20. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni endorsed the African Union's membership in the G20 at the last G7 meeting in Japan, and it is also a priority for the host of the summit, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In May, during a visit to the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia, Scholz supported the idea of the bloc becoming a permanent member of the G20 to give it a greater voice in efforts to address global issues such as climate change. The chancellor said Africa should play a more important international role to reflect its growing importance in an increasingly fragmented and multipolar world order.

Strong voice

Permanent membership, rather than "invited international organization" status, would give the AU the same status as the EU. This is part of an effort to provide African countries a stronger voice when international organizations decide on measures that affect them, including efforts to combat global warming, which is overwhelmingly caused by emissions from the G20.

Other topics on the meeting's agenda include discussions on the consequences of Russia's war on Ukraine for global food security. This situation worsened after Putin declined to renew the Black Sea grain deal following talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Other issues include efforts to reform the global financial architecture, improving conditions for private investments and infrastructure projects in Africa, and the Sahel region's situation.


The Group of Twenty (G20) is an international organization comprising the world's 19 largest economies and the European Union. It was established in 1999 to discuss and cooperate on global economic and financial matters.

The G20 aims to discuss issues related to the global economy, financial stability, and macroeconomic coordination and develop recommendations and measures to promote sustainable growth and development. Leaders' meetings of the G20 are held annually, and there are also regular meetings of finance ministers and central bank governors from these countries.

Putin will not attend the G20 summit because the International Criminal Court issued him an arrest warrant for kidnapping Ukrainian children.