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AU’s Inclusion in G20 – A Milestone We Proudly Advocated For

In a groundbreaking development that can reshape the global economic landscape, the African Union (AU) has officially been included in the pivotal Group of Twenty (G20).

This monumental decision, which promises to bring Africa’s voice to the forefront of international economic discussions, is a triumph for inclusivity and a testament to the collective advocacy of organizations and voices worldwide.

Among those voices, ASAP stands tall as a proud advocate for this historic milestone.

A Seat at the Table

The G20, comprising the world’s major economies, plays a pivotal role in shaping international economic policies and addressing global challenges. Historically, the AU has been excluded from this influential forum, despite the continent’s immense potential and growing economic significance. However, this has changed with the recent announcement of the AU’s inclusion, marking a significant turning point in international diplomacy.

A Resounding Advocacy

The inclusion of the AU in the G20 didn’t happen overnight. It was the result of persistent advocacy and calls for a more inclusive representation on the global stage. ASAP, along with many other organizations, has long championed the cause of including the AU in the G20. We firmly believe that the diverse perspectives and unique challenges faced by African nations must be part of the global conversation on economic policies, sustainable development, and international cooperation.

Why This Matters

The AU’s inclusion in the G20 brings several advantages to the table:

  1. Diverse Perspectives: Africa’s inclusion means a more comprehensive and diverse range of viewpoints in addressing global challenges. This diversity of thought can lead to more effective and equitable solutions.
  2. Economic Growth: With Africa being home to some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, its participation in the G20 opens up new avenues for trade, investment, and economic cooperation that can benefit both African nations and the world.
  3. Global Solidarity: In an increasingly interconnected world, global solidarity is paramount. The AU’s inclusion reflects a commitment to working together on shared challenges, from climate change to public health crises.

ASAP’s Commitment

At ASAP, we are thrilled to see this momentous change in international diplomacy. We are proud to have been one of the many voices that advocated for the AU’s inclusion in the G20. Our commitment to promoting inclusivity, diversity, and global cooperation remains unwavering. We believe that by working together, we can build a more prosperous, equitable, and sustainable world for all.

As the AU takes its rightful place at the G20 table, we look forward to the valuable contributions and collaborations that will undoubtedly emerge. This is a testament to the power of advocacy and the positive impact it can have on reshaping the world’s future.


Unraveling the Interplay of Poverty and Migration

We are delighted to share the highlights of the Poverty and Migration Webinar, hosted by Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP) on June 2, 2023. This enlightening event brought together distinguished speakers who shared their expertise on various dimensions of the intricate relationship between poverty and migration. This post provides a summary of the webinar’s key discussions and encourages readers to access the recording to deepen their understanding of this pressing global issue.

Session 1

Dr. Teresita Cruz Del Rosario kicked off the webinar with her presentation on “Migrating out of Poverty.” Her talk examined the transformative potential of migration as a strategy for poverty alleviation. Dr. Del Rosario discussed the complex motivations behind migration, the challenges faced by individuals and communities in poverty-stricken areas, especially in Eastern Asia, and the opportunities that migration can provide for improved livelihoods. Her insightful analysis shed light on the diverse pathways through which migration can contribute to escaping poverty.

Dr. Nita Mishra, a respected scholar in migration studies, presented on “Students Making Sense of Migration & Poverty.” Her presentation highlighted the pivotal role of education in fostering an understanding of the intertwined nature of migration and poverty. Dr. Mishra emphasized the importance of equipping students with critical thinking skills to analyze the socio-economic factors driving migration and perpetuating poverty. Her talk underscored the significance of empowering the younger generation to become active agents of change in tackling these complex issues. She was also joined by her student, Evelina Mikneviciute, who spoke on her personal experience of migration and poverty, as well as the process of learning through the migration project in Dr. Mishra’s class.

Session 2

In the  second session of the webinar, Dr. Catherine Wihtol de Wenden offered valuable insights on “The Structural Factors of Mobility for International Migrants.” Her presentation explored the underlying structural factors that influence migration patterns on a global scale. Dr. Wihtol de Wenden delved into the complex interplay of political, economic, and social forces shaping mobility for international migrants. Her comprehensive analysis underscored the need to consider these structural factors when formulating policies and interventions to address the challenges faced by migrants and to foster inclusive and sustainable development.

Dr. Joseph A. Yaro: Migrating from Poverty to Opportunity Dr. Joseph A. Yaro concluded the webinar with his talk on “Migrating from Poverty to Opportunity.” He offered a thought-provoking discussion on the journey of migrants who seek to transcend poverty and seize opportunities for socioeconomic advancement. Dr. Yaro shared insights from his research, highlighting successful cases and identifying key factors that contribute to positive migration outcomes. His presentation provided a framework for policymakers, practitioners, and researchers to develop context-specific strategies that empower migrants to escape poverty and realize their full potential.

The Poverty and Migration Webinar 2023 provided a platform for leading experts to engage in insightful discussions on the complex relationship between poverty and migration. The presentations by Dr. Teresita Cruz Del Rosario, Dr. Nita Mishra, Dr. Catherine Wihtol de Wenden, and Dr. Joseph A. Yaro illuminated various facets of this multidimensional issue. We encourage all interested individuals to watch the recording of the webinar below to gain a deeper understanding of the topics explored and to contribute to ongoing efforts in addressing poverty and migration. Together, let us strive for a world where no one is left behind.

Dr. Teresita Cruz Del Rosario

Dr. Nita Mishra

Dr. Joseph A. Yaro

Dr. Catherine Wihtol de Wenden


2023 Spring Newsletter

You can subscribe to our newsletter by filling in the form on the homepage or you can email us at and we will add you to our mailing list. You can also view our most recent newsletter below to learn what the ASAP network has been delivering.

You can access the full 2023 Spring Newsletter HERE


10th Amartya SEN Essay Prize

This year, Global Financial Integrity, Academics Stand Against Poverty and Yale’s Global Justice Program will be awarding the tenth annual Amartya Sen Prizes to the two best original essays examining one particular component of illicit financial flows, the resulting harms, and possible avenues of reform.  

Essays should be about 7,000 to 9,000 words long. There is a first prize of USD 5,000 and a second prize of USD 3,000.  Winning essays must be available for publication in Journal Academics Stand Against Poverty.

Illicit financial flows are explicitly recognized as an obstacle to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and singled out as target #4 of SDG 16. They are defined as cross-border movements of funds that are illegally earned, transferred, or used – such as funds earned through illegal trafficking in persons, drugs or weapons; funds illegally transferred through mispriced exchanges (e.g., among affiliates of a multinational firm seeking to shift profits to reduce taxes); goods misinvoiced or funds moved in order to evade taxes; and funds used for corruption of or by public or corporate officials.  

Components of illicit financial flows can be delimited by sector or geographically. Delimitation by sector might focus your essay on some specific activity, business or industry – such as art, real estate, health care, technology, entertainment, shipping, weapons, agriculture, sports, gaming, education, politics, tourism, natural resource extraction, banking and financial services – or on an even narrower subsector such as the diamond trade, hunting, insurance, or prostitution.  Delimitation by geography might further narrow the essay’s focus to some region, country, or province.

Your essay should describe the problematic activity and evaluate the adverse effects that make it problematic.  You should estimate, in quantitative terms if possible, the magnitude of the relevant outflows as well as the damage they do to affected institutions and populations.  This might include harm from abuse, exploitation and impoverishment of individuals, harm through subdued economic activity and reduced prosperity, and/or harm through diminished tax revenues that depress public spending.

Your essay should also explain the persistence of the harmful activity in terms of relevant incentives and enabling conditions and, based on your explanation, propose plausible ways to curtail the problem.  Such reform efforts might be proposed at diverse levels, including supranational rules and regimes, national rules, corporate policies, professional ethics, individual initiatives, or any combination thereof.  The task is to identify who has the responsibility, the capacity and (potentially) the knowledge and motivation to change behavior toward effective curtailment. Special consideration will be given to papers that provide a detailed description of how change may come about in a particular geographical or sectoral context.

We welcome authors from diverse academic disciplines and from outside the academy. Please send your entry by email attachment on or before 31 August 2023 to Tom Cardamone at While your message should identify you, your essay should be stripped of self-identifying references, formatted for blind review.



Ambedkar Grants for Advancing Poverty Eradication (AGAPE)

AGAPE is a program of Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP), an international community of scholars and researchers working to confront the rules and practices that perpetuate global poverty and to initiate targeted, evidence-based reforms.

This program commemorates and honors Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, India’s great leader in poverty eradication. Initial seed funding for AGAPE was generously provided by Krishen and Geeta Mehta.

AGAPE provides competitive funding and mentoring for innovative pilot projects in severe poverty eradication that offer strong prospects of cost-effective scale-up.

In its first year of operation, AGAPE has made four awards in India:

  1. The Snekithi Charitable Trust in Tamil Nadu was awarded Rs. 199000 for an initiative that will raise the productivity and thereby the incomes of Dalit woman farmers in the rain-fed areas of Karur District. AGAPE’s mentors for this project are Srilakshmi Vajrakarur and Johnson Prasant Palakkappillil.
  2. The Kuriakose Elias Service Society (KESS) in Elanjikulam, Nadathara, Thrissur. They were awarded Rs. 200000 for an initiative that will help women who have lost their jobs build a tailoring cooperative after suitable fashion design training. AGAPE’s mentor for this project is Jose Nandhikkara.
  3. Dr. Arambam Noni Meetai at Dhanamanjuri University, Imphal, Manipur. He was awarded Rs. 220000 for an initiative that will enable villagers in Kwatha to market their fermented bamboo shoot product directly in Imphal, thereby capturing a larger share of the final sales price. AGAPE’s mentor for this project is Tanvir Aeijaz.
  4. The National Service Scheme Unit at Sacred Heart University and Chellanam Panchayat. It was awarded Rs. 175000 for an initiative that will improve the livelihood of women by enabling them to create an enterprise for the manufacture and distribution of ecofriendly paper bags. AGAPE’s mentor for this project is Johnson Prasant Palakkappillil.

Contributions to AGAPE are tax-deductible in India and the United States. Help those who know poverty first-hand try out their best ideas toward eradicating severe poverty for good!

In its second year, AGAPE aims to divide well over Rs. 1 million among five promising projects that will pilot innovative approaches to poverty eradication.

Here poverty is defined broadly as including the whole range of basic social and economic needs; and eradication is conceived as enabling households to escape poverty permanently. At this time, only individuals and organizations planning pilot projects in India are eligible to apply.

An expert panel will assess pilot projects based on their cost-effectiveness and promise of success as well as their potentials for innovation and scale-up.

 Projects funded in prior years may be resubmitted for additional funding.

Proposals should be sent to by 31 May 2023, with selections to be announced by the end of June.


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