The G20 is the premier global forum for dialogue and cooperation on global economic and financial issues. It is over two decades old and holds the attention of experts and students alike for its intricate interaction between the geo-economics and geopolitics of the contemporary world. India has the Presidency of this year’s G20 summit. India’s Presidency of the G20 comes at a critical time, both for India and the G20 countries.
Under the Presidency, India has invited nine guest countries. Those countries are Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, Spain, and the UAE. Bangladesh is the only neighbouring country of South Asia that India has invited. This invitation bears great significance for both India and Bangladesh.
India not only invited nine guest countries to this forum, but also the International Solar Alliance (ISA), the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are invited as Guest-International Organisations (IOs). India is expected to host over 215 events at 55 different locations Nationwide. At most of these meetings, the G20 world will be represented by 42 delegations of ministers and officials.
The summit in September 2023 will bring nearly 12,000 international delegates, media, security, and associated personnel to Delhi. While the G20 cannot be a panacea for all the world’s problems, it has played a vital role in international cooperation in the past decade. In an era when rising powers seek opportunities to influence and contribute to global affairs, effective Global Governance through forums such as the G20 is essential. As a guest country, Bangladesh will get a global platform for portraying the issues that have arisen amidst the Russian-Ukraine war. As much as the global issues, some internal issues in Bangladesh needed a global platform like G20.
Bangladesh in G20
Bangladesh is also a rapidly developing country and has made significant progress in recent years in areas such as poverty reduction and economic growth. Bangladesh has become a centre of interest for developed countries due to its important geostrategic location.
The future world will be an Asian-led world. The future of the world economy is inextricably linked to the development of Asia, which is home to some of the world’s largest and fastest-growing economies. India and Bangladesh, as two of the leading economies in the region, will play a critical role in shaping the future of Asia and the world. With a rapidly growing economy and a large young population, Bangladesh is well-positioned to become a key player in Asia’s economic future. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is the only South Asian leader invited by India to the summit of the world’s most powerful economies. Higher officials’ visit from both countries has already started regarding the preparations for the summit.
The Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, AK Abdul Momen, will visit Delhi to attend the G20 Foreign Minister’s meeting in mid-March. Foreign Secretary of India Vinay Mohan Kwatra’s visit on February 14 – 15 was part of the preparation for the meeting. Bangladesh has already started to leave its footprint in cooperation with the G20. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, placed six proposals before the G20 platform to be addressed collectively for sustained global growth and development of the ‘‘Global South’’. Referring to the Russia- Ukraine war and the Covid-19 pandemic, she said it is high time to work collectively for a fair economic order.
In her proposals, she called to maintain global peace and stability to achieve sustained global growth. She also called upon the world to develop a new paradigm to address inequality holistically in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
During the transition period, she underscored the exceptional financing support for the most vulnerable countries, including LDCs and climate-vulnerable countries. She has urged to bridge the digital divide to ensure equal opportunities for all.
She emphasised strengthening South-South and triangular cooperation to ensure global human development. Support from partners, international financial institutions, private sectors, think tanks, and other stakeholders are crucial for cooperation.
Opportunities for Bangladesh
Bangladesh’s participation in G20 will usher in a new era of opportunity for Bangladesh. As this year’s G20 summit focuses on a sustainable future, Bangladesh can use this platform to attract more sustainable investments from the developed countries of G20. Bangladesh is among the nine special invitees who attended the first G20 Energy Transition Working Group (ETWG) meeting to be held under India’s Presidency in Bengaluru from February 5- February 7, 2023.
Bangladesh can also attract investment from developed countries to finance in Bangladesh for affordable energy transitions. As well as Bangladesh can attract more investments in the renewable energy sector of Bangladesh from developed countries.
Moreover, Bangladesh is on the way to signing a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India, which will immensely benefit the economy of Bangladesh. This global platform might allow Bangladesh to initiate CEPA with other developed countries.
Also, Bangladesh will get a solid platform to portray the Rohingya situation of Bangladesh. Again, while the G20 cannot be a panacea for all the world’s problems, it has played a vital role in international cooperation in the past decade. So, Bangladesh can expect international cooperation in the Rohingya repatriation process. Dialogue and diplomacy can help to resolve unsolved issues. For this, India, too, should promote an inclusive approach to international issues with pragmatic and human-centric solutions at the G20 forum.
In conclusion, the future of the global economy is increasingly in Asia’s hands, with countries like India and Bangladesh leading the way. The rise of these economies represents a significant shift in the balance of global economic power. Their leadership in forums like the G20 will be crucial in shaping the future of the world economy. The invitation from India is a great honour for Bangladesh. If Bangladesh can exploit the opportunities properly, the country will immensely benefit from its closest neighbour’s Presidency.
(The writer is PhD fellow, International Relations, University of Bucharest)