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To promote interests of Global South, S. Africa looks to G20

(Xinhua)    09:43, June 28, 2019

JOHANNESBURG, June 28 (Xinhua) -- With the 14th Group of 20 (G20) summit in Japan from Thursday to Saturday, South Africa expects to take the lead in promoting the interests of Africa and the Global South.

South Africa's position at the G20 summit will be crucial, Jannie Rossouw, head of School of Economic and Business Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, told Xinhua, adding that the government must use it to showcase investment opportunities in the country as well as in Africa.

Africa represents the world's demographic future, and its development path will increasingly influence the global economy, experts said. Nigeria is projected to have the world's third-largest population by 2050, and Sub-Saharan Africa will account for most of the growth of the global population over the coming decades, according to the World Population Prospects 2019.

On May 30, the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement came into force after 22 members of the African Union (AU) ratified it. The FTA is expected to boost intra-African trade, spur industrialization, and create more jobs on a tariff-free continent.

If all the 55 AU members join the free trade zone, it will become the world's largest of its kind in terms of number of countries and cover 1.2 billion people.

Africa is committed to pursuing deeper cross-border economic and infrastructure integration, as outlined in the AU's Agenda 2063.

South Africa is the only African country of the G20. The AU and the New Partnership for Africa's Development are invited as guests. Since Africa boasts great potential, its role in the G20 should be strengthened, experts said.

Rather than including Africa in wider discussions about global trade architecture, climate change, and the future of work, the G20 has largely limited its engagement with the continent within narrower development issues, said Cobus Van Staden, a senior China-Africa researcher at the South African Institute of International Affairs.

In 2016, when China held the presidency of the group, the G20 made industrialization in Africa a high priority, he said. The G20 Compact with Africa was initiated under the German presidency in 2017. Argentina in 2018 devoted attention to improving cooperation with the continent via people-to-people diplomacy.

"Looking ahead, Africa must be afforded a greater role in setting the G20's agenda," said Staden.

South Africa views the forthcoming summit as a platform to promote and strengthen the interests of Africa and of the South.

With the Japan summit focusing on new technology such as artificial intelligence and digital trade, South Africa will look for opportunities to support Africa in bridging the digital divide and leapfrogging to the fourth industrial revolution, said South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor.

"South Africa will continuously seek to ensure the G20 implements its commitments to Africa, including the G20 support for industrialization in the least developed countries," she said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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