BERLIN, May 4 (AFP) - Germany on Thursday called for the African Union to get a permanent seat in the Group of 20 major economies in the hopes of elevating the continent's role.

"We want to support the African Union getting a seat in the G20," Chancellor Olaf Scholz told reporters in a statement broadcast on news channel NTV.

Scholz's comments came as he began a three-day trip to East Africa, aimed at strengthening ties with the region.

The German leader kicked off his visit in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, where the African Union has its seat.

Scholz echoed a similar call made by US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron last year.

As it stands, South Africa is the only African member of the G20, which was launched in its current form during the 2008 financial crisis as a way to bring together the world's top economies.

There is precedent for international organisations participating in the G20, with the European Union also holding a seat.

The then chair of the African Union, Senegalese President Mack Sall, was invited to the G20 meeting in Indonesia last year by the hosts.

Scholz travels Friday to Kenya.