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What is the G20?


The Group of Twenty (G20) is made up of representatives of 19 of the world's industrialised economies plus one from the European Union. Founded in 1999, the G20 aims to discuss policy issues around promoting international financial stability. The presidency rotates annually and meetings are held once a year for two days in the country of the president. In 2017, the Presidency is held by Germany, with Argentina next.

Where have you heard about the G20?

Countries start making their position clear on certain topics ahead of G20 summits, so you will often read in the papers ahead of time what they want a particular summit to achieve. Then the summit themselves will be reported on TV and in the press, setting out any rows or any outcomes and who the winners and losers were.

What you need to know about the G20.

Countries in the G20 accounts for 85% of world GDP and two-thirds of its population. The member countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America, China and South Africa and the twentieth spot goes to a representative of the EU.

Each year the G20 president invites about six guest countries to attend the leaders' summit to participate for the year.

The meetings will have an agenda agreed in advance after careful negotiation, but like the G7 and G8, much important business goes on at informal side meetings or over dinner. As well as the leaders of the country, often finance ministers, central bank governors and trade representatives may also talk.

Consensus can often be hard to reach, with so many participants and each nation trying to look after their own interests. Critics argue that the G20's prominent membership gives it power over gloval policy despite not having any formal ability to enforce rules.

The first meeting, or summit of the G20, took place in US capital Washington DC in November 2008 after President George W. Bush said after a meeting of G7 finance ministers that the G20 would be important in finding solutions to the economic crisis of 2008.

Find out more about the G20.

The World Economic Forum's guide to what you need to know about the G20: See also G7, G8 and G10.

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