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G20 now includes Africa’s fast-growing, highly religious countries

9 Sep, 2023

Pictured above are World Bank President Ajay Banga, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, and U.S. President Joe Biden at the G20 Summit, in New Delhi (Photo Credit: AP).

By Brian Grim


The African Union (AU) is now a permanent member of G20. The announcement by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came today during the inaugural session of the G20 Leaders Summit, which India is hosting this year.

“With support from all of you, I invite the African Union to join G20,” Modi said amid thunderous applause from world leaders at the summit.

India, which has the largest number of religious adherents of any country, invited the African Union, which as some of the fastest-growing and most religious populations on the planet, to join the G20.

As shown in the chart at the bottom, countries in the top right are both fast growing and religious populations.

Indeed, this scenario coincides with the projections in our 2015 report for the World Economic Forum’s agenda council Changing religion, changing economies: Future global religious and economic growth.

As religious diversity and religious populations grow, so does their potential impact, creating new challenges and opportunities for societies, governments and economies. Business success in the 21st  century requires an understanding of how faith and belief shapes workplaces and marketplaces.

Of course, as our research shows and acknowledged in the G20 New Delhi leaders’ declaration, underlying the socio-economic success of nations is respect for freedom of religion or belief:

This comes on the heels of the G20 Interfaith Forum, which recently concluded.

For more information, check out our Research and Training resources.