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Opening Up a Dialogue between the G20 and Africa

Courtney Hallink, G20 Research Group
January 31, 2017

On 2 December 2016, Germany announced its priorities for the 2017 G20 summit that it will host in Hamburg, Germany. Similar to last year's Hangzhou Summit in China, Germany identified Africa-related issues as one of the priorities for the summit. However, although the Chinese presidency highlighted the importance of promoting industrialization in Africa, Germany has emphasized fostering G20-Africa partnership for sustainable development and increasing private investment and investment in infrastructure in Africa.

The first instance of increased cooperation between the G20 community and Africa will be the Think 20 (T20) conference on Africa and the G20: Building Alliances for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg on February 1-3. It will foster conversation on ways to strengthen G20-Africa cooperation and on the particular issues the new partnership will focus on. Potential issues include trade and investment, food security, and climate change, but private investment, investment in infrastructure, and the United Nations 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the African Union's Agenda 2063 will take centre stage.

Strides in G20-Africa cooperation made at this Johannesburg conference will set the tone for the upcoming G20 summit in Hamburg in July. The T20 should highlight the areas that the German presidency aims to prioritize for future G20-Africa relations. At Hamburg, the G20 and representatives from some of Africa's key international organizations, including the African Union and the New Partnership for African Development, will meet again. Unlike under last year's Chinese presidency, which invited the leaders of three African countries to attend the Hangzhou Summit, the German presidency has not invited any African country leaders. This decision reveals Germany's preference to increase cooperation with African international institutions rather than individual countries.

Germany's dedication to increased cooperation with Africa, demonstrated by the T20's Africa and the G20 conference, will hopefully translate into more concrete decisions on Africa-related issues when the G20 leaders meeting in Hamburg this July than the five made at Hangzhou last year.

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Courtney HallinkCourtney Hallink is a research analyst at the G20 Research Group and the G7 Research Group, and a country specialist (South Africa) at the BRICS Research Group based at the Munk School of Global Affairs in Trinity College at the University of Toronto. A fourth-year student completing a major in international relations and a double minor in European studies and political science, she was previously an intern for the United Kingdom Trade and Investment sector at the British Embassy in San Jose, Costa Rica. Courtney has a passion for social development and is particularly interested in sub-Saharan Africa. Her research focuses on the G20's governance of Africa-related issues as well as climate change and gender equality. Follow her at @c_hallink.

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