What is the G-20?

The G-20 Major World Economies

European Union Flag
Four member countries of the European Union and the EU itself are represented in the G-20 international organization. Source: CIA World Factbook, 2007

The G-20 or "group of twenty," is a group of twenty of the most important economies on the planet. It includes 19 independent countries along with the European Union.

The Beginnings of the G-20

The G-20 arose in 1999 from a suggestion at a G-7 summit meeting that the group of seven major world economies wasn't large enough to encompass all of the key players in the global economy. In 2008, the G-8 began holding annual or biannual summits for the heads of state of each of the members (including the President of the European Council, representing the European Union.) In 2012, the G-8 is meeting in Mexico.
Meetings from 2013 through 2015 are scheduled to be held in Russia, Australia, and Turkey, respectively.

The G-20 includes all of the original members of the G-7 along with BRIMCKS (Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, China, South Korea, and South Africa), and Australia, Argentina, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. According to the G-20 website, "The economies that make up the G20 represent almost 90% of global GDP and two thirds of the world's population."

G-20 Members

The members of the G-20 are:

1. Argentina
2. Australia
3. Brazil
4. Canada
5. China
6. France (also a member of the EU)
7. Germany (also a member of the EU)
8. India
9. Indonesia
10. Italy (also a member of the EU)
11. Japan
12. Mexico
13. Russia
14. Saudi Arabia
15. South Africa
16. South Korea
17. Turkey (an applicant for the EU)
18. United Kingdom (also a member of the EU)
19. United States
20. European Union (members of the EU)

Five countries have been invited to participate in the G-20 meeting in 2012 by Mexico, the host country and the chair of the G-20 at the time of the summit: Spain, Benin, Cambodia, Chile, Colombia.

G-22 and G-33

The G-20 was preceded by a G-22 (1998) and a G-33 (1999). The G-22 included Hong Kong (now part of China proper), Singapore, Malaysia, Poland, and Thailand, which are not in the G-20. The G-20 includes the EU, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, which were not part of the G-22. The G-33 also included Hong Kong along with seemingly unusual members as Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, and Morocco.
A complete list of G-33 members is available from Wikipedia.

G-20 Goals

The G-20 website provides the organization's history and goals:

"The G20 has its origin in the 1998 Asian economic crisis. One year later, the finance ministers and central bankers of the most important global economies convened in Berlin, Germany, at a meeting co-sponsored by the finance minister of Canada and the finance minister of Germany. In the wake of the international financial crisis that erupted in 2008, the most serious since the Great Depression (1929), the G20 began to meet at a Leaders' level and has since become the most important forum for global economic and financial cooperation and discussion."

"The G20 is an informal forum for discussion between advanced and emerging countries that seeks to strengthen international cooperation and ensure global economic stability... Its main goals are to coordinate macroeconomic policies to strengthen the global economic recovery; to reshape the international financial architecture; and to promote financial regulations to help prevent another crisis, such as the one in 2008, from occurring again."

Another G-33?

There possibly exists another G-33 consisting of more than 33 developing countries that meet although not much is known about them and their membership seems to include China, India, Indonesia, and South Korea (all members of G-20). There is a completely unsubstantiated list of the G-33 countries on Wikipedia.