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confidentially speaking

The Africa Confidential Blog

  • 7th September 2023

Will Africa's G20 membership produce a breakthrough on climate finance?

Blue Lines

In the absence of Russia's Vladimir Putin and China's Xi Jinping, the European Union will hold an informal 'mini-summit' with the African Union on the margins of the G20's summit in New Delhi on 9-10 September. That is being marketed as a political win in Brussels. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is hosting the gathering, has used the G20 presidency to formally invite the AU to join the club on the same terms as the EU.

Less clear is how and whether an African seat will translate into more political influence for the continent. The EU is likely to push for partnership with Africa on a global carbon pricing mechanism ahead of November's COP28 climate summit in Dubai. That would advance Europe's interests, since this would amount to a global equivalent of the EU's Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism which imposes a levy on imports based on their carbon emissions. But it is likely to divide African states between the fossil fuel producers and the rest.

In exchange for carbon pricing, African leaders are demanding support for an ambitious loss and damage fund – on which industrial economies are getting cold feet – and also for reform of the multilateral financial institutions based on the Bridgetown agenda pushed by Barbadian premier Mia Mottley to boost climate finance by issuing more IMF special drawing rights. These will test whether attending the G20 will translate into influence.