Radar | Nov 27,2021
Aug 14 , 2021
By Desta Mebratu (Prof.)
Africa should not wait around for an invitation to become a member of the G20. It is historically justified to claim a seat while the G20 are obliged to accept Africa's membership if SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement are ever to be achieved, writes Desta Mebratu (PhD), professor at Stellenbosch University in South Africa and a fellow of the African Academy of Sciences.
The pre-summit session of the United Nations Food Systems, held in Rome, Italy, saw prominent economist and sustainable development advocate Professor Jeffrey Sach make a couple of recommendations to global leaders. One of these was for the G-20 to become the G-21 by inviting the African Union as a full member of the forum. He argued this would allow a representative of an additional 1.4 billion people to sit around the table where decisions of global proportions are made.
It has been years since the importance of Africa was recognised by the G7 and G20 groups and African leaders have been invited to some of these forums by host countries. However, no one yet dared to talk about the elephant in the room until Professor Sach, who also wrote the opinion piece, "The Case for a G21," recently.
While expressing my appreciation for Professor Sach, I take his proposition. But it needs to be taken a bit further and argued that Africa should claim a place at the G20 table rather than waiting for it as a goodwill gesture from others. Most European countries and the United States of America partly owe their current level of industrialisation and development to the natural and human resources originated from our region. We are historically justified to claim our seat while the G20 is morally obliged to accept Africa as a member.
More importantly, it is imperative for the G20 to invite Africa to the table as it holds the key for humanity’s survival and sustenance in an increasingly resource and carbon-constrained world. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded in 2018 that future climate-related risks on aggregate will be more considerable if global warming compared to pre-industrial level exceeds 1.5 degrees centigrade.
We have already started seeing these climate-related risks creating havoc across the world. The most recent Emission Gap Report produced by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) indicated that the wealthiest one percent would need to reduce their current emissions by at least a factor of 30 to meet the goal. In contrast, per capita emissions of the poorest 50pc could increase by around three times their current levels on average.
Africa's population is estimated to reach 2.5 billion by 2050. While Africa’s contribution to the global greenhouse gas emission is minimal, it faces many challenges of sustaining rapid economic growth that meets the needs of its predominantly young population. Given the global environmental mess created by the G20 members, African countries have every right to prioritise the development of their economies following the same path of development.
Fortunately, we currently have the required technological means to put Africa’s growth on a more resource-efficient and low carbon development pathway that would enable them to fulfil their development objectives without exacerbating the already worsening environmental situation. This would, however, require taking Africa as an equal partner in the global policy and decision making process and genuinely and actively supporting African countries in their sustainable development effort.
The continent still holds a prominent position in the global resource stock and flow. The African Mining Vision adopted by the AU noted that the region is the world’s top producer of numerous mineral commodities and still has the world’s greatest deposits of many minerals. This includes the platinum metal groups (PMGs) – the most precious metallic elements. It also has significant deposits of minerals such as cobalt, manganese and coltan (columbite–tantalites), which are of strategic importance for the production of lithium batteries that are key for the transition to the low carbon economy.
Unfortunately, most of Africa’s minerals are exported without significant value-addition as ores, concentrates or metals, living behind a significant environmental and social disaster. Changing this towards a more inclusive and sustainable development would require sitting around the G20 table as an equal partner and shaping the global supply chain on a more equitable basis.
In general, whatever is done and achieved in any part of the world to meet commitments under the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) would be of limited significance if Africa is not supported on a path of inclusivity, climate resilience and resource efficiency. That is why the international community should stop taking Africa for a ride by systematically promoting its dependence and engage with it as an equal partner for sustainable development. Making the African Union a full member of the G20 would be an essential first step in forging a new form of partnership with African countries.
The African Union should decline to accept ad-hoc invitations to any future G20 meetings and demand to be invited as its full member. Furthermore, the Commission needs to make meticulous knowledge-based preparation to be an active contributor to the dialogue and effectively promote the interests of all African people.
To this effect, the AU Commission should proactively engage knowledge institutions such as the African Academy of Sciences and the African Economic Research Consortium besides working closely with member states and the relevant regional organisations. We Africans need to seize the emerging opportunities by capitalising on our natural resources and mobilising our continent's innovative and dynamic youth.
PUBLISHED ON Aug 14,2021 [ VOL 22 , NO 1111]
Radar | Nov 27,2021
Fortune News | Jan 09,2021
Fortune News | Apr 06,2019
My Opinion | Apr 29,2023
Commentaries | Feb 15,2020
Radar | Dec 10,2022
Viewpoints | Oct 23,2021
Viewpoints | Jan 28,2023
Sunday with Eden | Jul 20,2019
Fortune News | Jul 15,2023
Photo Gallery | 91684 Views | May 06,2019
Photo Gallery | 83955 Views | Apr 26,2019
Commentaries | 65395 Views | Oct 02,2021
My Opinion | 65373 Views | Aug 14,2021
Commentaries | Feb 24,2024
Life Matters | Feb 24,2024
My Opinion | Feb 24,2024
Sunday with Eden | Feb 24,2024
Agenda | Feb 24,2024
Editorial | Feb 24,2024
Feb 24 , 2024 . By MUNIR SHEMSU
Abel Yeshitila, a real estate developer with a 12-year track record, finds himself unable to sell homes in his latest venture. Despite slash...
Feb 10 , 2024 . By MUNIR SHEMSU
In his last week's address to Parliament, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) painted a picture of an economy...
Jan 7 , 2024
In the realm of international finance and diplomacy, few cities hold the distinction that Addis Abeba doe...
Sep 30 , 2023 . By AKSAH ITALO
On a chilly morning outside Ke'Geberew Market, Yeshi Chane, a 35-year-old mother cradling her seven-month-old baby, stands amidst the throng...
Every country is eager to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) – and for good re...
Leaders of the National Election Board are in a charm offensive mood, of a sort. Last week, they organised a rare tour for members of the me...
When the country's most senior diplomats and envoys return back to their posts after two-week debriefings, they leave behind a point or two...
Feb 24 , 2024
The recent policy pronouncement by the Transport Minister, Alemu Sime (PhD), of a pla...
Feb 17 , 2024
In the vast auditoriums of Addis Abeba, far from the era when flamboyant figures like...
Feb 10 , 2024
In a last week session before Parliament, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) was seen ad...
In a world increasingly attuned to the nuances of data reliability and its implicatio...
During a work deployment abroad five years ago, I encountered a woman whose frailty w...
I am greeted by the sight of numerous women lining the streets upon returning home from work each day. Their offerings range from fresh prod...
Feb 24 , 2024
The once-booming real estate market faces a downturn, with developers struggling with declining demand and falling prices. Developers see de...
Feb 24 , 2024 . By BERSABEH GEBRE
A crisis looms over the fertile lands of Gambella and Benishangul Gumuz regional states, where the future of commercial farming was once in...
Feb 24 , 2024 . By BERSABEH GEBRE
A major initiative by the Addis Abeba City Administration targeting food inflation and improving accessib...
Feb 24 , 2024 . By AKSAH ITALO
A concerning picture of public health safety was painted by the Ethiopian Food & Drug Authority (EFDA...