What is G20?

G20 was in the news recently with its two-day summit hosted virtually by Saudi Arabia in Riyadh.

G20 and its members

The G20 (or the Group of Twenty) is an informal group of 19 countries and the European Union, a combination of the world’s largest advanced and emerging economies. Formed in 1999, the G20 forum regularly meets to coordinate global policy on economic growth, international trade, health, climate and other issues. The G20 does not have a permanent headquarters and its presidency rotates annually.

The G20 members are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the U.K., the U.S. and the European Union. The G20 economies together account for nearly 80% of the world’s economic output, two-thirds of the global population, and about half of the world’s land area.

Its origin

The G20 was established in December 1999 in response to the financial crises faced by a number of countries in the 1990s with the aim of uniting the world around promoting global financial stability. There was also the need to create a more inclusive body with greater representation. What began as a regular forum for finance ministers and central bank governors turned into a key summit in 2008 when the heads of State and government came together for the first time in Washington to discuss global economy as well as other challenges facing the world. Ever since, the leaders have been meeting annually. A series of G20 ministerial events takes place during a year.

Its objectives

The G20 summit is focused on several key issues such as achieving global economic stability, sustainable growth, prevention of future financial crises, putting in place regulatory mechanisms and action against climate change. The two-day summit concludes with a joint statement issued by the members committing themselves to action. It is significant to note that the resolutions of the G20 are not legally binding, but they do influence the policies of the member countries.


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