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G20 Summit kicks off in Buenos Aires today: What is G20?


Buenos Aires, Nov 30: The thirteenth edition of the G20 (Group of Twenty) summit will take place in Buenos Aires on November 30-December 1. Leaders of all the member nations have started assembling for the summit which completes 10 years (though it was set up in 1999). Here we take a look at what is the summit all about:

G20 Summit kicks off in Buenos Aires today: What is G20?

What is G20:

The G20 is an international platform that brings together 20 leading industrialised nations and emerging economies of the world. The group accounts for 85 per cent of the world's GDP and two-thirds of the population. The meetings on the sidelines of the summit are equally important as are the informal talks where key business decisions are taken.

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Initially, the summits of the G20 were limited to the finance ministers and central bank governors after it as set up 19 years ago. It was in 2008, in the wake of the fall of the Lehmann Brothers and the recession around that time, that leaders of the member states started meeting every year (twice in the years 2009 and 2010) and it became an annual event. While the first-ever G20 summit took place in Berlin in December 1999 which was hosted by the finance ministers of Germany and Canada, the top leaders' summit was first held in Washington DC in 2008. The foreign ministers of the G20 countries had their first meeting in 2017.

The current summit is being held in South America for the first time and South of the Equator for the second time. Argentina holds the G20 presidency for a year starting November 2017.

After the last summit in China, Germany assumed the G20 presidency in December 2016. Although Berlin hosted ministerial-level G20 meetings in 1999 and 2004, the Hamburg event will be the first time Germany has hosted G20 heads of government. The last summit was held in Hamburg in Germany while the next will be held in Osaka, Japan, in June 2019.

Member countries of G20:

The 20 nations of the G20 are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey, UK, US, China, South Africa and the European Union. Spain is a permanent non-member invitee which attends the leaders' summits. It has also become a custom for the Chair of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and representatives of the African Union and NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa's Development) to be represented at the leaders' summits.

G20 vs G8:

The G8 of Group of Eight is a club comprising eight major industrialised countries like Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, UK and US. Russia's membership was suspended after its invasion of Crimea in Ukraine and the group stands as G7 now. While G8 focuses more on the economic crisis plaguing the industrial economies, the G20 is about the interests of both the developed and emerging economies.

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The chairmanship of the G20 rotates annually between countries divided into five different groups.

In the G20, there are no fixed voting shares or economic criteria. However, major power politics determines the lines of influence in the body.

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