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G20 industrial nations

"G20" redirects here. For other uses, see G20 (disambiguation)

Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors

  Member countries in the G-20
  Permanent guest
  Members of the European Union not individually represented
Abbreviation G-20 or G20
Formation 1999
2008 (Heads of State Summits)
Purpose/focus Bring together systemically important industrialized and developing economies to discuss key issues in the global economy.[1]
Current chair Russia (2013)
Staff None[2]

The Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (also known as the G-20, G20, and Group of Twenty) is a group of finance ministers and central bank governors from 20 major economies: 19 countries plus the European Union, which is represented by the President of the European Council and by the European Central Bank.[2] The G-20 heads of government or heads of state have also periodically conferred at summits since their initial meeting in 2008. Collectively, the G-20 economies account for approximately 86% of the gross world product (GWP), 80 percent of world trade (including EU intra-trade), and two-thirds of the world population.[2]

The G-20 was proposed by former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin[3] as a forum for cooperation and consultation on matters pertaining to the international financial system. The group was formally inaugurated in September 1999, and held its first meeting in December 1999. It studies, reviews, and promotes high-level discussion of policy issues pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability, and seeks to address issues that go beyond the responsibilities of any one organization. With the G-20 growing in stature after the 2008 Washington summit, its leaders announced on 25 September 2009, that the group would replace the G8 as the main economic council of wealthy nations.[4] Since its inception, the G-20's membership policies have been criticized by numerous intellectuals,[5][6] and its summits have been a focus for major protests.[7]

The heads of the G-20 nations met semi-annually at G-20 summits between 2008 and 2011. Since the November 2011 Cannes summit, all G-20 summits have been held annually.[2] Russia currently holds the chair of the G-20, and hosted the eighth G-20 summit in September 2013.[8]


The G-20, which superseded the G33 (which had itself superseded the G22), was foreshadowed at the Cologne Summit of the G7 in June 1999, but was only formally established at the G7 Finance Ministers' meeting on 26 September 1999. The inaugural meeting took place on 15–16 December 1999 in Berlin. In 2008, Spain and the Netherlands were included, by French invitation, in the G-20 Leaders Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy.

The theme of the 2006 G-20 meeting was "Building and Sustaining Prosperity". The issues discussed included domestic reforms to achieve "sustained growth", global energy and resource commodity markets, 'reform' of the World Bank and IMF, and the impact of demographic changes due to an aging population. Trevor A. Manuel, the South African Minister of Finance, was the chairperson of the G-20 when South Africa hosted the Secretariat in 2007. Guido Mantega, Brazil's Minister of Finance, was the chairperson of the G-20 in 2008; Brazil proposed dialogue on competition in financial markets, clean energy and economic development and fiscal elements of growth and development. In a statement following a meeting of G7 finance ministers on 11 October 2008, US President George W. Bush stated that the next meeting of the G-20 would be important in finding solutions to the burgeoning economic crisis of 2008. An initiative by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown led to a special meeting of the G-20, a G-20 Leaders Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy, on 15 November 2008.[9]

Despite lacking any formal ability to enforce rules, the G-20's prominent membership gives it a strong input on global policy. However, there remain disputes over the legitimacy of the G-20,[10] and criticisms of its organisation and the efficacy of its declarations.[11]


The G-20 Summit was created as a response both to the financial crisis of 2007–2010 and to a growing recognition that key emerging countries were not adequately included in the core of global economic discussion and governance. The G-20 Summits of heads of state or government were held in addition to the G-20 Meetings of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, who continued to meet to prepare the leaders' summit and implement their decisions. After the 2008 debut summit in Washington, D.C., G-20 leaders met twice a year in London and Pittsburgh in 2009, Toronto and Seoul in 2010.[12]

Since 2011, when France chaired and hosted the G-20, the summits have been held only once a year.[13] Mexico chaired and hosted the most recent leaders' summit in 2012.[14] Current summit is held in Russia; next in Australia in 2014[15] and Turkey in 2015.[16]

Date Host country Host city Website
1st[17] November 2008  United States Washington, D.C.
2nd[17] April 2009  United Kingdom London [1]
3rd[17] September 2009  United States Pittsburgh [2]
4th[18] June 2010  Canada Toronto [19]
5th[20] November 2010  South Korea Seoul [3]
6th[21] November 2011[22]  France Cannes [4]
7th[14] June 2012[23]  Mexico Los Cabos [5]
8th[8] September 2013  Russia Saint Petersburg [6]
9th[8] November 2014  Australia Brisbane
10th[8] 2015  Turkey TBA

G-20 leaders' chair rotation

To decide which nation gets to chair the G-20 leaders' meeting for a given year, all 19 nations are assigned to one of five different groupings. Each group holds a maximum of four nations. This system has been in place since 2010, when South Korea, which is in Group 5, held the G-20 chair. Mexico, the host of the 2012 summit, is in Group 3. In 2013, Russia, which is in Group 2, hosted the G-20 leaders' summit. Australia, the host of the 2014 G-20 summit, is in Group 1. The table below lists the nations' groupings:[24]

Group Nations Group Nations Group Nations Group Nations Group Nations
Group 1  Australia Group 2  India Group 3  Argentina Group 4  France Group 5  China
 Canada  Russia  Brazil  Germany  Indonesia
 Saudi Arabia  South Africa  Mexico  Italy  Japan
 United States  Turkey  United Kingdom  South Korea


The G-20 operates without a permanent secretariat or staff. The chair rotates annually among the members and is selected from a different regional grouping of countries. The chair is part of a revolving three-member management group of past, present and future chairs referred to as the Troika. The incumbent chair establishes a temporary secretariat for the duration of its term, which coordinates the group's work and organizes its meetings. The role of the Troika is to ensure continuity in the G-20's work and management across host years. The current chair of the G-20 is Russia; the chair was handed over from Mexico after the June 2012 G-20 Summit.

Proposed permanent secretariat

In 2010, President of France Nicolas Sarkozy proposed the establishment of a permanent G-20 secretariat, similar to the United Nations. Seoul and Paris were suggested as possible locations for its headquarters.[25] China and Brazil supported the establishment of a secretariat, while Italy and Japan expressed opposition to the proposal.[25] South Korea proposed a "cyber secretariat" as an alternative.[25]

List of members

Currently, there are 20 members of the group. These include, at the leaders summits, the leaders of 19 countries and of the European Union, and, at the ministerial-level meetings, the finance ministers and central bank governors of 19 countries and of the European Union. In addition, Spain participates in every meeting as a permanent guest.[2][26] The first of the tables below lists the member entities and their heads of government, finance ministers and central bank governors. The second table lists relevant statistics such as population and GDP figures for each member, as well as detailing memberships of other international organisations, such as the G8 or BRICS. Total GDP figures are given in millions of US dollars.


Region Member Official title Head of government Official title Finance minister Central bank governor
Africa  South Africa President Jacob Zuma Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan Gill Marcus
North America  United States President Barack Obama Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew Ben Bernanke
North America  Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty Stephen Poloz
North America  Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto Secretary of Finance Luis Videgaray Caso Agustín Carstens
South America  Brazil President Dilma Rousseff Minister of Finance Guido Mantega Alexandre Tombini
South America  Argentina President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner Minister of Economy Hernán Lorenzino Mercedes Marcó del Pont
Asia  China President


Xi Jinping

Li Keqiang

Minister of Finance Lou Jiwei Zhou Xiaochuan
Asia  Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Minister of Finance Taro Aso Haruhiko Kuroda
Asia  South Korea President

Prime Minister

Park Geun-hye

Jung Hong-won

Minister of Strategy
and Finance
Hyun Oh-seok Kim Choong-soo
Asia  India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Minister of Finance P. Chidambaram Raghuram Rajan
Asia  Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Minister of Finance Muhammad Chatib Basri Agus Martowardojo
Eurasia  Russia President

Prime Minister

Vladimir Putin

Dmitry Medvedev

Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov Sergey Mikhaylovich Ignatyev
Europe  Turkey Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Minister of Finance Mehmet Şimşek Erdem Başçı
Europe  European Union European Council President[27]

Commission President[27]

Herman Van Rompuy

José Manuel Durão Barroso

Commissioner for Economic
and Monetary Affairs
and the Euro
Olli Rehn Mario Draghi
Europe  Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble Jens Weidmann
Europe  France President

Prime Minister

François Hollande

Jean-Marc Ayrault

Minister of the Economy,
Industry and Employment
Pierre Moscovici Christian Noyer
Europe  United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne Mark Carney
Europe  Italy Prime Minister Enrico Letta Minister of Economy
and Finance
Fabrizio Saccomanni Ignazio Visco
Asia  Saudi Arabia King

Prime Minister

Abdullah of Saudi Arabia Minister of Finance Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al-Assaf Fahad Almubarak
Oceania  Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott Treasurer Joe Hockey Glenn Stevens

Member countries data

Region Member Trade mil. USD (2012) Nom. GDP mil. USD (2012)[28] PPP GDP mil. USD (2012)[29] Nom. GDP per capita USD (2012)[30] PPP GDP per capita USD (2012)[31] HDI
Population P5 G8 BRICS DAC OECD Economic classification (IMF)[33]
Africa  South Africa 208,000 384,315 582,391 7,506 11,375 0.629 53,000,000 Red XN Red XN Green tickY Red XN Red XN Developing
North America  United States 3,969,000 15,684,750 15,684,750 49,922 49,922 0.937 316,173,000 Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Advanced
North America  Canada 962,600 1,819,081 1,488,311 52,231 42,734 0.911 34,088,000 Red XN Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Advanced
North America  Mexico 756,800 1,177,116 1,758,896 10,247 15,311 0.775 112,211,789 Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Developing
South America  Brazil 494,800 2,395,968 2,355,586 12,078 11,875 0.730 193,088,765 Red XN Red XN Green tickY Red XN Red XN Developing
South America  Argentina 152,690 474,954 743,121 11,576 18,112 0.811 40,117,096 Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Developing
Asia  China 3,801,000 8,227,037 12,405,670 6,075 9,161 0.699 1,339,724,852 Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Red XN Red XN Developing
Asia  Japan 1,649,800 5,963,969 4,627,891 46,735 36,265 0.912 127,390,000 Red XN Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Advanced
Asia  South Korea 1,068,700 1,155,872 1,613,921 23,112 32,272 0.909 50,004,441 Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Advanced
Asia  India 809,400 1,824,832 4,684,372 1,491 3,829 0.554 1,210,193,422 Red XN Red XN Green tickY Red XN Red XN Developing
Asia  Indonesia 384,100 878,198 1,216,738 3,592 4,977 0.629 237,556,363 Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Developing
Eurasia  Russia 900,600 2,021,960 2,513,299 14,246 17,708 0.788 143,400,000 Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN Developing
Europe  Turkey 370,800 794,468 1,123,380 10,609 15,001 0.722 72,561,312 Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Developing
Europe  European Union 4,567,000 16,414,483 16,073,550 32,708 32,028 0.876 501,259,840 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Europe  Germany 2,768,000 3,400,579 3,197,069 41,512 39,028 0.920 81,757,600 Red XN Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Advanced
Europe  France 1,226,400 2,608,699 2,254,067 41,140 35,547 0.893 65,447,374 Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Advanced
Europe  United Kingdom 1,127,000 2,440,505 2,336,295 38,588 36,941 0.875 62,041,708 Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Advanced
Europe  Italy 953,000 2,014,079 1,832,916 33,115 30,136 0.881 60,325,805 Red XN Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Advanced
Middle East  Saudi Arabia 518,300 727,307 906,806 25,084 31,275 0.782 27,123,977 Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Developing
Oceania  Australia 522,000 1,541,797 970,764 67,722 42,640 0.938 22,328,632 Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Advanced

In addition to these 20 members, several other international forums and institutions, as represented by their respective chief executive officers, participate in meetings of the G-20.[2] These include the managing director and Chairman of the International Monetary Fund, the President of the World Bank, the International Monetary and Financial Committee and the Chairman of the Development Assistance Committee.

The G-20's membership does not reflect exactly the 19 largest national economies of the world in any given year. The organization states:[1] All 19 member nations are among the top 29 economies as measured in GDP at nominal prices in a list published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for 2013.[28] Not represented by membership in the G-20 are Switzerland (ranked 20th by the IMF), Iran (21), Norway (23) and Taiwan (27), even though they rank higher than some members. Spain (13), the Netherlands (18), Sweden (22), Poland (24), Belgium (25) and Austria (28) are included only as part of the EU, and not independently.

When the countries' GDP is measured at purchasing power parity (PPP) rates,[29] all 19 members are among the top 25 in the world on April 2013, according to the IMF. Iran (17), Taiwan (20) and Thailand (24) are not G-20 members, while Spain (14), Poland (21) and the Netherlands (23) are only included in the EU slot. However, in a list of average GDP, calculated for the years since the group's creation (1999–2008) at both nominal and PPP rates, only Spain, the Netherlands, Taiwan, and Poland appear above any G-20 member in both lists simultaneously.

Spain, being the 13th largest economy in the world and 5th in the European Union in terms of nominal GDP, is a "permanent guest" of the organization, although the Spanish government's policy is to not request official membership.[34][35] As such, a Spanish delegation has been invited to, and has attended, every G-20 heads of state summit since the G-20's inception.

Role of Asian countries

A 2011 report released by the Asian Development Bank predicted that large Asian economies such as China and India would play a more important role in global economic governance in the future. The report stated that the rise of emerging market economies heralded a new world order, in which the G-20 would become the global economic steering committee.[36]

The report furthermore noted that Asian countries had led the global recovery following the late-2000s recession. It predicted that the region would have a greater presence on the global stage, shaping the G-20 agenda for balanced and sustainable growth through strengthening intraregional trade and stimulating domestic demand.[36]


Typically, several countries that are not permanent members of the G-20 are extended invitations to participate in the summits. The invitees are chosen by the host country. For the 2010 summits, for example, both Canada and South Korea invited Ethiopia (chair of NEPAD), Malawi (chair of the African Union), Vietnam (chair of ASEAN), and Spain. Canada also invited the Netherlands, while South Korea invited Singapore. Both Canada and South Korea invited seven international organizations: the United Nations, the International Labour Organization, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, and the Financial Stability Board.[37][38]


Exclusivity of membership

Although the G-20 has stated that the group's "economic weight and broad membership gives it a high degree of legitimacy and influence over the management of the global economy and financial system,"[39] its legitimacy has been challenged. With respect to the membership issue, U.S. President Barack Obama has noted the difficulty of pleasing everyone: "everybody wants the smallest possible group that includes them. So, if they're the 21st largest nation in the world, they want the G-21, and think it's highly unfair if they have been cut out."[40] A 2011 report for the Danish Institute for International Studies, entitled "The G-20 and Beyond: Towards Effective Global Economic Governance", criticised the G-20's exclusivity, highlighting in particular its under-representation of the African continent. Moreover, the report stated that the G-20's practice of inviting observers from non-member states is a mere "concession at the margins", and does not grant the organisation representational legitimacy.[41] However, Global Policy stated in 2011 that the G-20's exclusivity is not an insurmountable problem, and proposed mechanisms by which it could become more inclusive.[42]

Norwegian perspective

In a 2010 interview with Der Spiegel,[5] Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre called the G-20 "one of the greatest setbacks since World War II." Although Norway is the seventh-largest contributor to international development programs in the United Nations,[43] it is not a member of the EU, and thus is not represented in the G-20 even indirectly.[5] Norway, like the other 170 nations not among the G-20, has little or no voice within the group. Støre characterized the G-20 as a "self-appointed group", arguing that it undermines the legitimacy of organizations set up in the aftermath of World War II, such as the IMF, World Bank and United Nations:

The G-20 is a self-appointed group. Its composition is determined by the major countries and powers. It may be more representative than the G-7 or the G-8, in which only the richest countries are represented, but it is still arbitrary. We no longer live in the 19th century, a time when the major powers met and redrew the map of the world. No one needs a new Congress of Vienna.
—Jonas Gahr Støre, 2010[5]

Global Governance Group (3G) response

According to Singapore's representative to the United Nations, UN members who are not G-20 members have responded to the G-20's exclusivity by either reacting with indifference, refusing to acknowledge the G-20's legitimacy, or accepting the G-20's status while hoping to "engage the G-20 as the latter continues to evolve so that [their] interests are taken on board."[44] Out of this latter group, Singapore has taken a leading role in organizing an informal "Global Governance Group" of 28 non-G-20 countries (including several micronations and many Third World countries; only about one-third of the members could be described as Middle Powers), seeking to collectively channel their views into the G-20 process more effectively.[45][46] Singapore's chairing of the Global Governance Group was cited as a rationale for inviting Singapore to the November 2010 G-20 summit in South Korea.[47]

Foreign Policy critiques

The American magazine Foreign Policy has published articles condemning the G-20, in terms of its principal function as an alternative to the supposedly exclusive G8. It questions the actions of some of the G-20 members, and advances the notion that some nations should not have membership in the first place. For example, it has suggested that Argentina should be formally replaced in the group by Spain, because Spain's economy is larger.[6] Furthermore, with the effects of the Great Recession still ongoing, the magazine has criticized the G-20's efforts to implement reforms of the world's financial institutions, branding such efforts as failed.[48]

On 14 June 2012, an essay published by the National Taxpayers Union was forwarded to Foreign Policy, espousing a critical view of the application of G-20 membership. The essay's authors, Alex Brill and James K. Glassman, used a numerical table with seven criteria to conclude that Indonesia, Argentina, Russia and Mexico do not qualify for G-20 membership, and that Switzerland, Singapore, Norway and Malaysia had overtaken some of the current members. However, the gap between current members Mexico and Russia and the lower-ranked entries in the authors' list (Malaysia and Saudi Arabia) was only slight. Thus, it was concluded that there is no obvious group of twenty nations that should be included in the G20, and that fair and transparent metrics are essential, as they justify the difficult decisions that will be required in order to differentiate among similarly situated countries.[49]

Wider concerns

The G-20's transparency and accountability have been questioned by critics, who call attention to the absence of a formal charter and the fact that the most important G-20 meetings are closed-door.[50] In 2001, the economist Frances Stewart proposed an Economic Security Council within the United Nations as an alternative to the G-20. In such a council, members would be elected by the General Assembly based on their importance in the world economy, and the contribution they are willing to provide to world economic development.[51]

The cost and extent of summit-related security is often a contentious issue in the hosting country, and G-20 summits have attracted protesters from a variety of backgrounds, including information activists, nationalists, and opponents of Fractional Reserve Banking and crony capitalism. In 2010, the Toronto G-20 summit sparked mass protests and rioting, leading to the largest mass arrest in Canadian history.[7]

Current leaders

See also


Further reading

  • Haas, P.M. (1992). "Introduction. Epistemic communities and international policy coordination," International Organization 46,1:1–35.
  • Hajnal, Peter I. (1999). OCLC 277231920.
  • Reinalda, Bob and Bertjan Verbeek. (1998). OCLC 39013643.
  • Augusto Lopez-Claros, Augusto, Richard Samans and Marc Uzan (2007). OCLC 255621756.
  • Danish Institute for International Studies (2011). . Copenhagen, Denmark: Jakob Vestergaard.

External links

  • Russian
  • G-20 website of the OECD
  • G-20 Seoul Summit 2010
  • University of Toronto
  • International Monetary Fund
  • The Guardian
  • IPS News – G-20 Special Report
  • The G-20's role in the post-crisis world by FRIDE
  • The Group of Twenty—A History, 2007
  • Economics for Everyone: G20 – Gearing for Growth

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