New Delhi [India], November 8 (ANI): Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said the inclusion of the African Union in the G20 under India’s Presidency showcased the forum’s will to act.
Addressing the Global Economic Policy Forum 2023, Sitharaman said, “The inclusion of Global South, meaning the voice of the Global South was heard prior to the G20 Presidency by the honourable Prime Minister of India, and post that, making sure that the agenda that India Presidency puts forward in the G20 would reflect the concerns of the Global South have all shown that if there is will and if there is concerted action, if there is consensus, an intent getting converted to action, then it is possible.”
“The entry of the African Union into the G20 during the India Presidency showcases that the G20’s will to act was there, it translated into action, and therefore, you saw the entry of the African Union into the G20. I am indeed grateful to the entire G20 membership for having enabled that,” she added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his opening remarks at the 18th G20 Leaders’ Summit, invited the African Union, represented by Chairperson Azali Assoumani, to take a seat at the table of G20 leaders as a permanent member.
Stressing that thought engines cannot remain in one corner of the world where the Global South cannot reach, Sitharaman said, “So, with this kind of a background, if thought, engines will have to exist something global growth engines can be in emerging market economies, but thought engines will also have to contribute to it. And if thought engines have to contribute, they can’t be some way exclusive in one corner of the world, where the South doesn’t reach.”
Sitharaman said the G20 must keep working to put forward the concerns of the Global South, adding, “And therefore, this attempt of the CII, particularly immediately after the G20 India Presidency, and particularly after the African Union’s entry into the G20 is just the right thing to do, and I’m indeed grateful, therefore, for all of you who have come over here to participate in this. It is going to be absolutely necessary.”
“To keep this momentum up, not just just one year. For the next few years, we have to persist on this job of putting forward the concerns of the Global South. In both the development and development-related actions, and also in those actions which are going to be global but which will have a bearing on all of us top of the agenda being climate action,” she added.
Also alluding to the role of women for their contribution to the economy and society, she said the Centre was supplying drones and related technology to women in rural areas for sustainable agricultural practices.
“We need more women in policy-making, businesses, board rooms, shop floors, etc. Today, India is supplying drones & related technology to women in rural hinterland for sustainable agricultural practices. These ‘Drone Didis’ are going to take care of Mother Earth, help produce more crops & master the technology of maintaining as well as operating the drones for agricultural purposes,” a post on X by Sitharaman’s Office quoted her as saying at the event.
Sitharaman stressed events like these should be held annually as it would provide a platform for greater discussion by thought leaders on setting the agenda on where the world would move in the next 25 years and in which issues related to the Global South would find resonance.
She made these remarks during the inaugural session of the Global Economic Policy Forum 2023, organised by the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
She said while there is no doubt that each country will have an agenda that is specific to its needs, it was necessary for all voices to be heard and issues for greater inclusion of the Global South should gain traction for them to emerge as the next growth engines after the Covid-19 pandemic and amid the ongoing military conflicts.
Noting that base energy cannot be fully replaced with renewable energy, she called transitional energy a big challenge.
She stated that India is rapidly moving in the renewable energy space, particularly solar energy, through conducive policies and called the International Solar Alliance a big initiative on grid connectivity.
The Union Finance Minister called for a globally connected grid that would draw on solar power from anywhere in the world.
On the increasing use of technology and the digital revolution in India, Sitharaman spoke about the major strides the country has made in the digital space, adding that it stands out for its importance in eliminating corruption so that the common man becomes the ultimate beneficiary and it provides local artisans with access to global markets.
CII President R Dinesh underlined the work on creating a growth map during B-20, India’s digital journey focusing on the Global South, sustainability initiatives and support to be provided to small and medium businesses and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) financing in his address at the event. (ANI)