92 Bowery St., NY 10013

+1 800 123 456 789



Advocating for a G21​

This policy brief advocates for the inclusion of the African Union in the G20 for ethical reasons.

The G20 or Group of Twenty is one of the most powerful multilateral platforms today. It plays an important role in shaping and strengthening global governance on all major international economic issues. Its key achievements include cooperation on tax transparency, increasing female participation in the workforce, enhancingfood security, and reducing the debt burden on the world’s poorest countries.

The G20 has one major limitation. Fortunately, this limitation – that it leaves out 96% of Africa’s population – can be easily remedied by including the African Union.

There are many political, social, economic and governance reasons for adding the African Union to the G20

This values-driven policy brief argues that the African Union should be included in the G20 to promote the values of fairness, respect, care and honesty.

On participatory fairness, the inclusion of the African Union in the G20 would represent a masterstroke of fairness combined with efficiency, in that it would grant representation to 54 more countries than the status quo, with just one additional seat.

On substantive fairness, African countries are suffering disproportionate losses due to climate change. The burden of championing African interests in the G20 should no longer rest on South Africa alone.

Externally driven G20 initiatives can consign Africa to a passive and consultative role, which runs counter to the value of respect. Inclusion of the African Union in the G20 would meet this concern.

To leave no-one behind is a central promise of Agenda 2030. This requires an ethics of care and support. With the current finance and borrowing mechanisms driven by the G20, African governments cannot support their populations appropriately.

The G20 has called for stronger global cooperation, praised the strengths of regional ownership by the African Union, and reiterated its support for Africa. The necessary step, to show the G20’s honesty of intention and integrity, is to follow through with a G21.

Procedural fairness, fair processes, and participatory fairness require that every country should have a seat at a decision- making table that discusses our common future and the most important world issues affecting us all.

"The population of Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to double by 2050 while Europe’s population continues to shrink. Over the same period, Africa is likely to have the fastest urban growth rate."

The current urban populations of Cairo (21 million), Lagos (15 million), and Kinshasa (15 million) illustrate this trend. Africa only has one seat at the G20 table, that of South Africa. This means that 96% of Africa’s population is currently not represented at the G20. In 2021, South Africa had a smaller GDP than Nigeria ($419 billion in comparison with $441 billion), but it shoulders the responsibility of representing an entire continent.

One could argue that efficiency requirements make it impossible to grant procedural fairness (in the form of national representation) in every forum, and that all countries are, in any case, represented at the United Nations. Indeed, one of the strengths of the G20 is that it operates with an efficiency that allows for quicker and more flexible problem-solving. Yet by including the EU, the group accommodated, at a stroke, input from 27 countries in a coordinated way that did not jeopardize efficiency.

A similar masterstroke is possible today. The inclusion of the African Union would bring all 55 African countries into the G20, thus giving representation to 54 countries more than the status quo, at the cost of just one additional seat.

The minimum requirement of substantive fairness is that one should not be harmed by others. The countries of the African Union are responsible for around 3.6% of global carbon emission, represent 18% of the global population, and lose 5% to 15% of GDP due to climate change – and yet they have no seat at the G20 decision- making table, where climate change and other causes of global economic crises are discussed, and consequent action decided upon.

A seat for the African Union – a G21, in other words – would enable Africa to push for more substantive fairness on climate change and global economic policies.

The G20 formulated a response to COVID-19 for Africa when only South Africa was formally a member of the G20. The response aimed to “help protect and assist the most vulnerable and those most at-risk because of the pandemic, who generally suffer disproportionate impacts, including women and girls, youth, people withdisabilities, the elderly, migrants, refugees, displaced people, and indigenous people”.

It has been argued that “all these G20 initiatives consign Africa to a passive, consultative, or at best diminutive role”, which runs counter to the value of respect. Adding the African Union to the G20 would address this concern while only adding one seat.

African countries need access to key global decision-making bodies to advocate for structures and policies that care for the needs of the poor and leave no-one behind. The G20 is such a body.

In 2021, the G20 High Level Independent Panel on Financing the Global Commons for Pandemic Preparedness and Response report argued that

in a historically unprecedented way, security for people around the world now depends on global cooperation.

The report also noted that “ the current pandemic has demonstrated the strengths of regional ownership, e.g. the major initiatives taken by the African Union”.

In 2022, under the Indonesian presidency, G20 Heads of States were “deeply concerned that multidimensional crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as lack of fiscal space and unequal access to finance and technology, are posing significant challenges towards realizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. The G20 Heads of States declared: “We also reiterate our continued support to Africa”.

The G20 could prove its fidelity, honesty, and transparency in relation to previously expressed support for Africa by admitting the African Union into its ranks.

To promote fairness, respect, care, and honesty and to permit better preparation for the next global pandemic, the admission of the African Union into the G20 is recommended.

-Sachin Chaturvedi, Pamla Gopaul, Stephan Klingebiel, Klaus Leisinger, Michael Makanga, Thomas Pogge, Riatu Qibthiyyah, Jeffrey Sachs, Doris Schroeder, Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, Peter Singer


Democracy In All Policies

In small communities, civic and democratic practices are already evident in everyday habits, customs, therefore behavior-change interventions in such places must include them.

-Mihai Lupu

Mihai Lupu is an ASAP board  member and the founder of EduCab.  His academic and practical focus is on harnessing the potential of various organizations, such as public libraries and community centers, within small to medium-sized communities to initiate, curate, and foster critical thinking-based knowledge, democratic practices, and exposure to diversity-focused contexts that contribute to enhancing community-oriented and civic engagement practices worldwide. 

Through his work, Mihai demonstrates that in small communities, civic and democratic practices are already evident in everyday habits, customs and therefore behavior-change interventions in such places must include them.

He calls these practices small-scale democracies, and he emphasizes the importance of acknowledging and also acting on the democracy distance, which refers to the gap between established democratic narratives and practices and citizens’ understanding of their local customs and practices as essentially democratic instances with civic value.

To facilitate this understanding, Mihai breaks down the concept of democracy into smaller units of indices and indicators that can make more sense for citizens in villages and small towns.

He demonstrates that such indices and indicators are easier to be regarded as having democratic value to people, if they are seen with their relevance into day-to-day actions and experiences, while providing a wider range of space for specific interactions at the local level, tackled by anchor institutions like public libraries. Additionally, Mihai expands the concept of community beyond the classic territorial approach and diasporas to include all those who contribute to and are connected to these communities.

Throughout his work on this topic, Mihai draws on academic and non-academic literature to open discussions with new questions and ways of tackling his ideas. He also uses various examples of interventions and results achieved through the EduCaB program and methodology, which he founded and continues to implement in over 400 communities worldwide, while relating them to existing practices and approaches.

…a library can promote democratic practices and the overall experience of democracy while capitalizing on existing resources. 

Mihaita Lupu

Libraries are seen as miniature Agoras, contributing to the larger scale Agora by improving citizens’ well-being and quality of life through the way they relate to themselves and to each other. The questions and examples presented in his research aim to start a larger conversation among those who care about reviving communities and democratic practices in small communities, asking how much we do not use from what democracies can offer right now and how much a library can do to promote democratic practices and the overall experience of democracy while capitalizing on existing resources. 

Since this exercise it’s just at the beginning, the larger scope being to capture the potential of all core local institutions and stakeholders to translate indicators of democracy into specific actions easily recognizable by citizens, he names his approach ‘Democracy within all policies’, this being an EduCaB concept and program, developed in partnership with Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP), Yale Global Justice Program, Kettering Foundation, Periphery Inc. and the network of public libraries and community centers supported through EduCaB.

Mihai Lupu



Know Your Rights India (KYRI) – raising awareness of rights, entitlements and benefits in India

KYRI is an ongoing project that will result in an online website capturing the rights, entitlements and benefits available at both national and provincial levels to citizens and residents of India. The work is currently being piloted in different regions of Kerala, Orissa, Uttarakhand and Gujarat. Led by former ASAP Board Member Ashok Acharya.