T20 Africa Conference underscores inclusivity, cooperation
T20 Africa Conference, the meeting for the G20 think tanks and African countries, ended on Friday in Johannesburg with a commitment to accelerate cooperation between the G20 and Africa.
The three-day conference aimed to chart a course for the future cooperation between Africa and the G20.
The day ended with the formulation of the communique which will be given to the current G20 chair Germany. The communique will also be the reference for further discussion between Africa and T20. T20 comprises of the G20 think tanks.
Dr. Christine Hackenesch, researcher at the German Development Institute (DIE) said, "There was an agreement that there must be a continuous and sustained engagement between G20 and Africa because there is a strong dependence between the two. Africa's Agenda 2063 should be the initial and starting point to move forward."
The conference also recommended that G20 and Africa to start with broad-based concrete initiatives which are easy to agree on and move on. They also acknowledged that Africa have an important role to play in the international multilateral cooperation.
Hackenesch said, "African leadership and their Pan African organizations like the African Union (AU), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (NEPAD) should play a leading role in the engagement between G20 and the continent. They should be strong Africa perspectives and priorities in the G20 Africa engagement."
She also stated that African think tanks should play a key role as they have the necessary expertise.
Dr. Thomas Munthali from Africa Capacity Building Foundation said they have held the Africa think tank summit every year which could be used as a link to the G20.
He emphasized that the G20 Africa engagement should speak to the Agenda 2063 which clearly articulates the African dreams.
Cedrick Crowley, Director of G20 Desk, South Africa's Department of International Relations and cooperation, said it is in the best interest of the G20 to address including Africa in their agenda.
He said, "Many G20 presidents have spoken about inclusivity. Africa and less developed countries will benefit from inclusivity. Africa is ready to partner with G20 and work hard to ensure that the relationship reaches its fruition."
He said Africa have a huge potential with its youth and resources, which presents a great opportunity for global growth. He invited the G20 to use Africa as a catalyst for future growth and do economic fairness. He said they have to make sure that the G20 implements some of the decisions they make.
South Africa's B20 representative in the G20, Mthunzi Mdwaba said Africa and G20 should partner to have sustainability and policy coherence.
The meeting was organized by South African Institute of International Affairs, German Development Institute and Institute for the World Economy. Germany is the current chairman of G20 having taken over from China in December 2016.
The first T20 African conference was attended by diplomatic corps, think tanks from Africa and G20 countries, policy makers from South Africa, Germany, international and African regional organizations.