South African president calls for Africa to be member of G20

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JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for the African Union to be included as a permanent member of the Group of 20 leading economies.

The representation would allow African countries to more effectively press the G-20 group to implement its pledge to help the continent to cope with climate change.

Ramaphosa made the call Tuesday at the G-20 summit in Indonesia. The G-20 meeting is taking place at the same time as the U.N. climate summit in Egypt.

“We call for continued G-20 support for the African Renewable Energy Initiative as a means of bringing clean power to the continent on African terms,” Ramaphosa said.

“This can be best achieved with the African Union joining the G-20 as a permanent member,” he told the gathering.

The African Union represents the continent’s 54 countries. The G-20 is composed of the world’s major industrial and emerging economies and represents more than 80% of the world’s gross domestic product.

Ramaphosa expressed concern at the “lack of progress in key issues” at the multilateral negotiations at the climate conference.

“Industrialized countries in the G-20 need to demonstrate more ambitious climate action and must honor their financial commitments to developing economies,” he said.

South Africa is currently the only African member of the G-20.

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