India opens its arms at this year’s G20

A who’s who of global leaders are landing in New Delhi as the annual G20 Summit starts tomorrow… or later today if you factor in the time difference.

Driving the news: Host country India (which might be trying to soft launch a new name for itself) has chosen “One Earth. One Family. One Future.” as the theme of the conference and hopes to focus discussions on sustainable development and spreading economic growth. 

  • Sources told Reuters that the G20 is about to take a big step to include voices from developing nations as it will formally grant membership to the African Union, a continental bloc of 55 African nations. It would be the second continental bloc in the group after the EU. 

Why it matters: With a focus on development and a potential invite to Africa, this year’s conference is a battle between the West and China to gain influence over the rapidly emerging economies in the so-called Global South.

  • The IMF forecasts that the GDPs of the Middle East, Central Asia, and developing countries in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa will grow between 3.2% and 5.0% next year, outpacing projected global GDP growth of 3%. 
  • With Xi Jinping mysteriously skipping the summit, Joe Biden will take the opportunity to pitch the World Bank as an alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative for climate and infrastructure aid. 

Zoom out: Testy comments about China are coming out before the summit even starts. Justin Trudeau said there’s no room for “rapprochement” between Canada and China and that relations aren’t “much better” since resolving the Two Michaels situation. Meanwhile, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan urged China not to “play spoiler” at the event.—QH