Developing Countries and the Rise of the Group of 20

FlagsAs the G-20 (Group of 20) concluded its much-publicized summit meeting in Pittsburgh, world leaders announced various goals concerning the lingering global financial crisis. They also stated, almost in passing, that the G-20 will replace the G-7 as the main international forum for steering global economic policy. This change may signal a new era in global politics: The G-20 includes not only the rich industrialized nations that made up the G-7 (or G-8 with Russia included) but also major developing countries such as China, India, and Brazil. It thus seats these emerging powers at the table with the elite group that has long dominated the world’s economy. This announced shift in the global balance of power (away from U.S. and European dominance) may be more significant than anything the summit actually accomplished.

The communiqué designating the G-20 as the primary forum for international economic cooperation clearly enhances the status of “emerging market nations.” One commentator hailed this “symbolic act of inclusion” as immensely important to global politics. A former chief economist with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) acknowledged that the G-7 had become “something of a zombie—very hard to kill”; it will likely live on, though with less clout.

The member nations of the G-20 comprise two-thirds of the world’s population and account for 80 percent of global trade. The G-20 has direct connections to the World Bank and IMF. Future G-20 summits are planned for 2010, in Canada (June) and South Korea (November), and 2011, in France.

Related Links

  • G20 to Replace G8 as Main Economic Forum
    This article focuses on the G-20 leaders’ announcement that it will now be the chief international body for guiding global economic growth.(Source: ABC/Reuters, September 25, 2009)
  • ANALYST VIEW: G20 Ends Reign of G7 in Pittsburgh
    This article includes opinions by various observers of the global economy on the significance of the new, enhanced role for the G-20.(Source: Reuters, October 1, 2009)
  • World Leaders Relaunch G20 as Top Economic Forum
    This story from The Guardian reports the shift toward giving a greater voice in global economic affairs to developing nations such as China, India, and Brazil.(Source: The Guardian, September 25, 2009)
  • What Is the G-20?
    The official Web site of the Group of 20 explains its history, mission, and membership.(Source:; accessed September 28, 2009)

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