The dust is only now beginning to settle over the 2017 G20 Summit in Hamburg and, as expected, US President Donald Trump stole most of the headlines. However, in spite of much of the focus being on Trump and his relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the most recent G20 Summit was also notable for its focus on Africa. In fact, personal grievances and disagreements aside, the world leaders in attendance were actually able to agree on a number of propositions that could be hugely beneficial for those on the Continent.
The 2017 G20 Summit: Focusing on Africa
Although African development wasn’t the only issue on the agenda at the summit, Africa was still one of the summit’s biggest focuses. This is evidenced by the fact that the summit was attended by leaders of four African nations.
As the only African nation in the G20 group, South Africa’s attendance was already guaranteed. However, in addition to South African President Jacob Zuma, the leaders of Senegal, Kenya and Guinea were also invited to attend the summit as special guests.
By inviting these other African leaders, the G20 seemed to show that it is strongly committed to furthering economic growth and development on the Continent, while also remaining dedicated to alleviating poverty, supporting women’s rights, and tackling health issues that continue to plague many nations.
The G20 African Partnership
Prior to the start of G20 Summit, a conference was held in Hamburg to discuss the formation of the G20 African Partnership. Despite some disagreements, the G20 leaders eventually agreed at the summit to officially launch this partnership in line with helping to meet the goals laid out by the United Nations Social Development Agenda 2030.
As part of the launch of the G20 African Partnership, the G20 leaders agreed to the G20 Initiative for Rural Youth Employment. This new initiative is designed to focus primarily on developing African countries in an effort to overcome serious problems with youth unemployment. By supporting various development projects, the goal of the initiative is to create more than 1.1 million new jobs by 2020, while also providing a range of skills-development programs that should benefit at least 5 million more young people over the next five years alone.
The new G20 Africa Partnership is also set to include important projects designed to promote increased participation of African women in the workforce. Through the Women Entrepreneurs Financing Initiative, the Business Women’s Leaders Task Force and the #eSkills4Girls Initiative, the hope is to help alleviate poverty by ensuring women become more equal participants in the workforce.
Trade was another primary focus of this year’s G20 Summit, and by the end of the two-day meeting, the leaders had agreed to fully implement the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, which should make it easier for developing countries in Africa and elsewhere to receive technical assistance in an effort to boost their economies.
All of these agreements seem to indicate that the G20 countries are finally dedicated and fully committed to African development, and there is no doubt that the new programs and initiatives should help to improve the overall quality of life for at least some Africans. However, the truth is that we’ll have to wait to see exactly when and how these new initiatives are implemented before we can really judge whether or not they’ll be effective. Unfortunately, past history shows that many of the G20 nations have not always lived up to previous commitments they’ve made to Africa. Therefore, it remains to be seen exactly what sort of impact the new G20 African Partnership will actually have in the long run.