The 50th G7 Summit has kicked off today in Puglia, Italy, hosted by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

Mekelle፡ 13 June 2024 (Tigray Herald)

By Pauline Njoroge

The 50th G7 Summit has kicked off today in Puglia, Italy, hosted by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

The Group of 7 (at one point 8 ) emerged as a result of the huge global economic challenges of the 1970s. From a gathering of finance ministers in 1973, the entity grew to become a formal, high-profile venue for discussing and coordinating solutions to major global issues ranging from economic policies, international security to other emerging issues.

This powerful inter-governmental political and economic forum consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States. The European Union is also part of it, as a non-enumerated member.

Based on the theme of each annual summit as decided by the presidency of the meeting, an invitation is extended to a number of outreach countries. The decision on who to invite is informed by the influence the outreach countries hold in these matters.

In the last 10 years, 18 African leaders have addressed the G7 Summit.

H.E Uhuru Kenyatta became the first Kenyan President to be invited, during the 43rd G7 Summit held in Taormina, Italy in 2017. Here he went with one clear message: “It is time to listen to Africa’s story.”
In his address, he cited Africa as the world’s new frontier for trade and investment with projected business opportunities worth $5.6 trillion by 2025. He encouraged members of the G7 to invest more in Africa, affirming that the continent’s returns on investment were some of the highest in the world, owing to a better-educated labour force, a youthful, dynamic population and a diffusion of technology.

The following year Uhuru was also invited to address the Summit in Quebec, Canada where he made a case for the blue economy. He called on the G7 leaders to embrace the protection of oceans and seas as a shared responsibility, and encouraged global parnerships on a win win basis in tackling the capacity gaps that most developing countries face.
Uhuru further addressed the threat plastic bags posed to sea life, and informed the summit that his administration had banned the manufacture, sale or use of plastic carrier bags.

The G7 summit in Puglia presents a crucial opportunity for the world’s leading democracies to show their strong commitment to upholding the international order based on the rule of law, and to enhance their engagement with developing nations.

Key issues to be discussed at the summit include Africa; climate change and development; energy; artificial intelligence; migration; Indo-Pacific security and economic; the ongoing situation in the Middle East and the Russo-Ukrainian War.

Africa is one of the key agenda items to be covered on the third day of the summit. The discussions will address various pressing issues including reforming the global financial system, conflict hotspots on the continent, socio-economic investment to address immigration issues, debt burden and climate financing. The discussions aim to strengthen Africa’s development through comprehensive support and collaboration under the Africa-Mediterranean relations.

The African continent will be represented by the following leaders:

Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, President of Mauritania and the Chairperson of the African Union; Abdelmadjid Tebboune, President of Algeria and AU champion for the fight against terrorism and violent extremism; William Ruto, President of Kenya and Chair of the AU Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change; Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank.

President William Ruto has been leading charge in matters of Climate Change and Climate Financing, and has been very vocal on issues of Restructuring International Financial System and debt distress faced by African Countries. Therefore his attendance will be key in continuing to voice out these issues and to seek concensus from the G7 leaders.

Of interest to note is that Pope Francis will be in attendance at this year’s G7 Summit, and his address will focus on ethical implications of Artificial Intelligence. This will be the first time a Pontiff will be attending the summit.

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