Although South Africa is the only African permanent member of the G-20 group of major economies, the G-20 regularly invites the chair of the African Union (AU) and a representative of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) – usually the chair of the Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee – to attend its meetings. So far their participation has been limited largely to attendance at G-20 Summits and they have made few contributions to other G-20 processes, including preparatory steps on the so-called sherpa and finance tracks. The G-20 agenda unquestionably has an impact on policies relevant to Africa’s economic development. It is therefore important that Africa adopts a sustainable approach that will enable it to participate effectively in the workings of the group. It would be useful to define a clear role for the AU Commission in enhancing support for and co-ordination of African participation in the G-20. The method used to prepare Africa’s common position on aid effectiveness could provide lessons in this regard. South Africa also set a useful precedent for engaging with other African countries during its hosting of the BRICS Summit in 2013.