G20: Who are its members and why does the grouping matter?

G20 nations collectively represent around 80% of global economic output and about 60% of the world’s population


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Traffics moves past an illuminated G20 logo near the New Delhi airport ahead of the Group of 20 nations' summit. (AP Photo)
Traffics moves past an illuminated G20 logo near the New Delhi airport ahead of the Group of 20 nations' summit. (AP Photo)

Published: Fri 8 Sep 2023, 1:11 PM

India is hosting world leaders at the G20 Summit in New Delhi on September 9 and 10. The Summit, under India's presidency, will conclude with the member nations adopting the G20 Leaders’ Declaration. The declaration underlines the leaders’ commitment to the group's priorities over the next few years. The G20 Summit is held annually and the group functions under a rotating presidency.

What is G20?

The Group of Twenty (G20), signifying the number of nations part of it, is an international forum or platform for economic cooperation. The group was founded in 1999 following the Asian financial crisis. The platform was to bring together the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of member nations to discuss global economic and financial issues.

How it has evolved

Just as the Asian financial crises led to the formation of the G20, the global economic recession in 2008 underscored the group's role in solving the economic woes the world was faced with. It was during this economic crisis that the G20 was upgraded to a platform for Heads of State/Government to cooperate and address economic and financial issues.

In 2009, G20 was designated the “premier forum for international economic cooperation”.

Meet the members

The G20 members are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

The expansion

The G20 has approved the membership of the African Union, on the lines of the European Union, Reuters reported on Thursday. The African Union, with 55 member states, will become the 21st member of the bloc. In June, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote to the leaders of the G20 nations, proposing the African Union be given full, permanent membership at the upcoming summit in New Delhi.

Why G20 matters and what it does

The G20 nations collectively represent around 80 per cent of global economic output. Not just that, the group also accounts for nearly 75 per cent of global exports and about 60 per cent of the world’s population. While the member nations initially focused largely on broad macroeconomic issues, its role over the last two decades has evolved to now also include trade, sustainable development, health, agriculture, energy, environment, climate change, and anti-corruption.


Over the last two decades, the G20 has brought together these economic powerhouses to collectively tackle the global financial woes. The group helped battle against the Global Financial Crisis in 2008-09 and the Eurozone Crisis in 2010. The G20 was also at the centre stage of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic with a USD 10 trillion rescue package concentrated on handling the economic and health crises.

Among other things, the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) aided 50 countries, addressing unsustainable debt burdens and providing long-term reserves to low-income, emerging market and developing countries.


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