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Senegal's Macky Sall at the G20 Hangzhou Summit:
Included Guest or Sidelined Observer?

Courtney Hallink, G20 Research Group
September 4, 2016

On the eve of the 2016 G20 summit in Hangzhou, Chinese president Xi Jinping has delivered his four main priorities for the summit, which can be found in his article in G20 China: The Hangzhou Summit. Fourth on the list was "to narrow the global development divide, we are leading the way in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We will issue the G20 Initiative on Supporting Industrialization in Africa and Least Developed Countries and work for the early entry into force of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to ensure equal access by all people to the benefits of development."

In the same publication, Macky Sall, president of Senegal and the head of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), who is attending the summit as an official guest, has provided his expectations. So has Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa, which is a member of the G20.

Although President Xi, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi and President Zuma have pinpointed industrialization as their main focus for Africa, President Sall has presented a different priority. He is urging the G20 leaders to play an active role in reforming the international taxation system. This is an issue area that, in its application to Africa, has not been given the needed attention by G20 leaders thus far.

Although official guests have historically played a minor role in G20 decision making, more countries have been invited to attend the G20 summit this year than ever before, representing and symbolizing President Xi's attempt for greater inclusiveness. It therefore seems promising that the official guests at Hangzhou will most likely be given a greater voice than has been seen at past G20 summits.

When the G20 communiqué is released on September 5, it will become apparent how much the G20 leaders have taken President Sall's expectations into account, embracing President Xi's idea of inclusiveness, or if Senegal has been treated as a sidelined observer and a high-profile guest good primarily for summit photo ops.

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Courtney HallinkCourtney Hallink is a research assistant at the G20 Research Group and the G7 and G8 Research Group based at the Munk School of Global Affairs in Trinity College at the University of Toronto. She is a fourth-year student completing a major in international relations and a double minor in European studies and political science. Courtney was previously an intern for the United Kingdom Trade and Investment sector at the British Embassy in San Jose, Costa Rica. She is passionate about international development and recently travelled to Tbilisi, Georgia, in order to conduct field research on poverty and unemployment. Courtney works on compliance assessments on topics including, but not limited to, development, gender, regional security, and climate change.

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