The Sunday Mail
Munyaradzi Huni in Antalya, Turkey
President Mugabe has been invited by Turkey to attend the G20 Summit that starts here today as he is the only leader authorised to speak on behalf of Africa as Chair of the African Union.
Speaking to journalists after a consultative meeting between President Mugabe and his counterparts from South Africa President Jacob Zuma and Senegal’s President Macky Sall, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said the G20 wanted to hear Africa’s voice.
“President Mugabe is the Chair of the African Union. He is the only person who is authorised to speak on behalf of the entire continent. Therefore, he has been invited to participate in this G20 summit because the G20 would like to hear the voice of Africa.
“And during President Mugabe’s tenure of office as Chair of the African Union, he and only he can speak on behalf of the entire continent. Therefore what he was to say in the deliberations of this summit will be taken very very seriously as the voice of Africa.
“The consultations that the three Heads of State had this afternoon were to make sure that they are all clear on the positions that Africa holds on the various issues that are on the agenda,” said the minister.
Minister Mumbengegwi shed more light on the consultative meeting: “As you know this is a Summit of the G20, that is 20 of the most industrialised countries who have set up their own grouping to look mainly at various economic issues.
“Now, there is only one African country which is a member — that is South Africa. But however, there is an arrangement that the Chair of the African Union is also invited in that capacity so that they can speak on behalf of the entire continent.
“There is also the chairperson of Nepad, that is Senegal, they are also invited so that they can participate from the vantage point of the Nepad programmes.
‘‘Now obviously the three Heads of State, are the only African leaders who are participating in this summit, felt that it was necessary for them to undertake consultations on the various items of the agenda.
“The agenda and the programme has issues relating to migration which will be discussed, there are issues relating to various developments in various sectors of economies, the areas of energy and in the areas of infrastructure.
“So the purpose of the consultations was to consolidate their common positions so that they can be able to interact with the other 19 members of the G20 in order to speak with one voice and therefore enhance the presentation of Africa’s position to the G20.”
Some of the issues on the G20 agenda include the emerging economies, migration, climate change and economic and tax co-operation.
Other non-G20 countries attending the Summit include Spain, Azerbaijan, Malaysia and Singapore.
There is unprecedented security in Antalya with the resort town closed and only delegates allowed access.
This follows yesterday’s terror attacks in Paris, France that have shaken the West to the core.
The G20 comprises 19 countries – Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States, and the European Union as represented by the European Commission and the European Central Bank.
The G20 accounts for 85 percent of the world’s economy, 75 percent of trade and two-thirds of the population.
Reports say Russian President Vladimir Putin, America’s Barack Obama, Britain’s David Cameron, Germany’s Angela Merkel, France’s François Hollande and China’s President Xi Jinping, along with others, will attend the Summit.
Turkey took over the presidency of the G20 from Australia on December 1, 2014; and China will preside over the organisation in 2016.