Voice of the Global South

Even after several decades of colonization by the West, Indians are still celebrated for preserving their culture, traditions, and rituals. We in African countries also know Indians very well through their famous romantic movies and music performances decorated with beautiful traditional attires without forgetting their distinguished services they are rendering to us as teachers and mentors both in high schools and universities. Another feature that makes India well-known worldwide is the Taj Mahal, the most magnificent structure ever built in memory of Mumtaz Mahal, the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan's favorite wife. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Taj Mahal, built completely of white marble in the 17th century, symbolizes not only the world's greatest architectural achievement but also the unity, harmony and togetherness of the diverse cultures, languages, and religions of this great people of India. This world's populous nation with more than 1.4 billion people has now been emerging as one of the most i nfluential country in the world particularly in terms of economy and international diplomacy. During my journey to this giant nation last December, with a group of over thirty journalists from sixteen African countries, I had the opportunity to personally witness these unique elements of the country. The Indian External Affairs Ministry arranged a week-long familiarization program that highlighted the nation's accomplishments in the fields of international relations, economic development, democratization and technological advancement, among other areas. In our conversation with Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, as part of the visit, we were able to understand the nation's foreign policy toward emerging nations, especially those on the African continent, is actually quite realistic. India's diplomatic and international relation endeavors being carried out to help ensure the overall benefits of developing nations are remarkable. The county is striving to realize the aspirations of Africans and other developing nations through a variety of international mechanisms, such as the South-South cooperation. These efforts are now bearing fruit for the benefit of both India and African nations. AU and The G20 India made a commitment to accelerate South-South collaboration when it was awarded the G20 presidency last year. The goal was to create a world where all people would benefit from fair political and economic engagement. The Group of Twenty (G20) is one of the huge and most influential blocs established 24 years ago by the finance ministers and central bank governors of member nations in the wake of the Asian financial crisis with a goal to discuss about international financial and economic matters. Nothing is more critical than bringing the multifaceted interests of the global South to the attention of such stage as many scholars, researches and political economy analysts share same idea about the importance of addressing the developmental, political and economic needs of the developing nations with a view to creating a peaceful world in which everyone lives the happy life they deserve. India has made a number of initiatives in the last year as part of its efforts to safeguarding the interests of the global south. It advocated for developing countries' interests and concerns on the global arena while representing the Global South in the G20. It has made an effort to raise awareness of the issues and goals of the Global South while emulating international collaboration and solidarity. One of the successful achievements in this regard is the inclusion of the African Union (AU) in G-20, whose members represent 85 percent of the global GDP, over 75 percent of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population. The European Union, which is the largest regional economy, is part of the G20 together with 19 other major and advanced economies. Since the decisions made in this bloc are very influential in shaping international politics and economic relations, adequate representation of Africa i n the group is crucial not only for the continent to achieve its aspiration for transformation, but also for the effective implementation of all decisions by the group. Hence, it would be possible to argue on the fact that AU's inclusion in the G-20 will boost the group's legitimacy and acceptance of its decisions by all global players, including the Global South and stakeholders in the global economy. Under India's presidency last year, the African Union (AU) was admitted as a permanent member of the bloc. India made the proposal, which received unanimous support from the G-20, for the AU to become a permanent member. India pursued this goal as part of its overarching plan to strengthen South-South cooperation. In terms of international diplomacy, India's backing of the African Union's admission to the G20 is seen as historic. It not only makes the AU's bid stronger, but it also demonstrates India's genuine commitment to the realization a more just and representative international order. Strong and sinc ere international cooperation and partnerships are essential to addressing the enormous difficulties facing the modern world, which is beset by countless natural and man-made disasters. Therefore, by utilizing the opportunities in multilateral entities, integrating the AU in the G20 is advantageous for both sides to accomplish their own agendas, which when combined would bring about positive changes in the global system in terms of establishing a more equitable, prosperous, and sustainable world. In his recent interview with local media, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said ' India's G20 Presidency has sowed the seeds of confidence in the countries of the so-called 'Third World.' He also stated that the efforts to create an all-inclusive multilateral forum will be intensified in collaboration with the developed nations, 'because today, they are acknowledging the potential of the Global South more than ever before and recognizing the aspirations of these countries as a force for the global good.' AU's inclusion in the G-20 would also help African countries to avert their daunting development challenges the nations have been encountering in terms of loans by international financial institutions such as the World Bank and IMF, in improving the existing debt architecture, security and undesired geopolitical constraints affecting the continent. India Champions Africa's BRICS Ascension As an original BRICS founding member, India has long intertwined its roots with Africa's ambitions. Now, as Ethiopia and Egypt join the alliance under India's backing, the continent gains a vital megaphone to articulate its voice on issues of trade, sustainability and global equality. Born in 2006, BRICS has blossomed into a formidable force representing high-growth emerging economies. Its core vision champions equitable and sustainable development worldwide. This resonates deeply across Africa's 54 countries seeking to transform deprivation into prosperity. India has pledged to fortify cooperation with Africa under the BRICS banner. A s a pioneer of South-South collaboration, it offers Africa in-depth technological expertise and IT knowledge transfer, alongside investments in infrastructure, agriculture and green energy. These shall aid African nations in fulfilling the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Africa's Agenda 2063. So as Africa realizes its rightful place at the BRICS table with Egypt and Ethiopia now included, India remains a trusted ally, walking hand-in-hand towards a brighter, shared future. Many consider the BRICS as one of the major influential groups in the contemporary global geopolitics and economy as it is an important alliance that brought some of the world's leading emerging economies together representing large percent of the world's population, GDP, and trade. The BRICS aspire to foster growth that is equitable, sustainable, and beneficial for all countries by establishing a very strong and deep cooperation among their member nations in addition to establishing balanced diplomatic and international politics wor ldwide. This is a good opportunity for Africa. Being the most deprived and unprivileged continent in the world, Africa needs the BRICS to help it reverse this reality. Currently, three African nations are represented in the bloc out of the ten members. Analysts claim that South Africa, Ethiopia, and Egypt's membership in the BRICS is essential to effectively advancing the continent's transformational efforts and giving it a voice in the international sphere. The BRICS is an alliance that strives for fairer and just global political and economic exchanges by eradicating the existing discrimination through strengthening the South-South Cooperation. In this regard, the BRICS is significantly vital global partner to realizing Africa's aspiration for transformation as the effective implementation of South-South cooperation could be a driving force to attaining the various development instruments of the continent including Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2063. The three African nations in the BRIC S would play crucial role in voicing and safeguarding the continent's economic and diplomatic interests in the global stages in collaboration with the nations in the bloc including India, which is one of the pioneers in realizing the objectives of global South that strives for the equal political and economic engagement with the global north. Indo-African Ties The other important thing that I was able to witness during the familiarization tour with the group of African journalist to India is the country's enthusiasm to work with countries in Africa for shared development. In all our conversations with pertinent officials including External Affairs Minister, investors, scholars, and heads of several institutions in the country, Africa was the center of discussion. The country has been taking several measures towards strengthening its ties with Africa in the areas of trade, investment, technology exchange, infrastructure development, mitigating impacts of climate change among other vital development sectors . India has demonstrated its commitment to Africa through a series of events dubbed the India-Africa Forum, which have been conducted since 2008. The most recent one took place in 2015 and featured participation from more than 50 African nations. In light of their shared basic priorities, both sides agreed to step up their cooperation in all areas of development with the ultimate goal of eradicating poverty, as outlined in Africa's Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals, among other very important matters. The efforts have so far been bearing fruits in strengthening the ties of African countries with India. The volume of trade between India and African nations is increasing. As of right now, trade between the two countries has reached 103 billion USD, placing India behind the EU and China as Africa's top trading partners. India has invested a total of 70 billion in Africa; by 2030, the Confederation of Indian Industry hopes to have increased that sum to 150 billion. Along with forging solid alli ances with African countries, the India Export Import (EXIM) Bank is financing large-scale development initiatives across the continent. Along with having robust public-private partnerships and safeguards against debt distress, India is also the second-biggest lender in Africa. The African Development Bank (ADB), which New Delhi joined in 1983, serves as the primary conduit for Indian aid. Opportunities are still there to be tapped for the benefits of both Africa and India. For instance, the country offered billions of US dollars in concessional loans to help Africa's socioeconomic development in the areas of infrastructure, irrigation schemes, solar electricity, cement, sugar, and textile factories, technology parks, and railroad infrastructure, among other things. India is prepared to share its cutting-edge technology advancements that I have visited during my stay in Hyderabad, India's largest technology city that aspires to become global giant in information technologies and digital economy. When the A frican journalists visited the International Solar Alliance (ISA) headquarters in Haryana, India, they were also able to witness India's dedication to addressing the challenges posed by climate change. The Indian government took the initiative to form ISA during the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in 2015 held in Paris, France, with the aim of advancing solar energy technologies as a way to provide carbon-free energy access from solar radiation. At the moment, Africa comprises more than half of the ISA member states. African nations and India are currently collaborating to develop solar energy projects across the continent. Additionally, the ISA and the African Development Bank are collaborating to build 10,000 MW of solar power plants in the Sahel with the goal of supplying electricity to around half of the 600 million Africans who remain off-grid. Being member of the G-20 and BRICS, as well as the leading advocate of South - South Cooperation and genuine multilateralism, coupled with its fast growing e conomy with technological advancement, India is among the most important nations across the globe. What I have clearly understood from my weeklong visit is that India gives top priority to Africa. Hence, I am obliged to accept the fact that India is key nation to partner with to help realize Africa's aspiration for acquiring fair position in the international stages, eradicating of the current prejudicial global political and diplomatic engagements and ensuring equitable development by extricating poverty. Source: Ethiopian News Agency