The Group of Twenty (G20) was formed in 1999 and was originally a meeting of the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Central Bank in an effort to broaden the discussion of policies that are beneficial for resolving the global economic and financial crisis. As an economic forum, the G20 is a membership of 19 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India,  Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and one regional organization namely the European Union.

At the beginning of its formation, the G20 focused on efforts to reform the global financial system as one of the keys to responding to the global economic crisis. In line with the improvement in world economic conditions, at the 2009 G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, USA, the G20 objectives were formulated more clearly, namely to create strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth. To realize this goal, the G20 Summit in Cannes, France in 2011 agreed that the G20 has the responsibility to "coordinate their policies and produce political agreements that are very important in addressing challenges due to conditions of global economic interdependence" ( to coordinate their policies and generate the political agreement necessary to tackle the challenges of global economic interdependence).

As a major world economic forum that has a strategic position because it collectively represents around 65% of the world's population, 79% of global trade, and at least 85% of the world economy, various G20 meetings put forward dialogue to build the political commitment of the leaders of the world's major economic leaders in resolving challenges which affects global economic growth, including issues of finance, trade, infrastructure and investment, energy, employment, corruption eradication, development, agriculture, and technology, innovation, and the digital economy.

To discuss these issues, the G20 is divided into two channels, namely the financial track and the Sherpa track. The financial channel, which consists of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors from all G20 members, specifically addresses a number of agendas related to the financial sector. Meanwhile, the Sherpa track addresses other agendas that are outside the financial sector, as well as preparing various documents to be discussed at the Summit. Therefore, Sherpas are generally appointed directly by the Head of Government / Country and are seen as their representation at various G20 meetings in addition to the Summit.

The G20 does not have a permanent Secretariat. In the process and system of its work, the G20 has a Presidency determined by consensus by its members based on regional rotation and changes every year. Therefore, every year the "Troika" - which consists of the previous presidency, the current year presidency, and the upcoming presidency - conduct intensive communication and coordination to ensure the continuity of the G20 agenda.


There was no codified list of criteria to determine which countries would be invited to join the new forum. It was accepted, however, that countries had to be systemically important to the global economy and have the ability to contribute to global economic and financial stability. Other considerations were that the group be broadly representative of the global economy and be regionally “balanced.” Also key was that the group be small enough to facilitate frank and open discussion. A small group would help foster close working relationships and raise the level of trust among its members.

It was important for country representation in the group to be at a very high level, consisting of finance ministers and central bank governors. High-level political backing was seen as essential if the group was to be effective. Given concerns about the number of participants, the size of country delegations to ministerial meetings was deliberately limited to three—the finance minister, the central bank governor, and one deputy.

Drawing up a membership list was challenging for G-7 deputies. Twenty countries, along with the IMF and the World Bank, were seen as the largest possible number of members if the intimacy of the G-7 had any hope of being replicated.

One important issue was European representation. With the four European members of the G-7 invited to join the Group, the inclusion of other European countries, both smaller industrial and emerging, was ruled out. G-7 deputies did, however, agree to invite the European Union (EU), represented by the country holding the EU presidency, and the European Central Bank (ECB) to join the Group to provide indirect representation for the smaller members of the EU.

African representation was also an issue. Although a number of possible candidates were discussed, only South Africa was invited to join the new forum because of its systemic importance, both globally and regionally. One consideration in this decision was the important focus of the new Group on financial stability rather than on development issues.

The ability of Indonesia to participate effectively in the Group in light of the political instability in the country at that time was also initially an issue. However, such concerns had evaporated by the time of the first ministerial meeting in Berlin in December 1999.

With 19 countries, one regional representative (the European Union), and four ex officio members (the chairs of the IMFC and Development Committees, along with the Fund’s Managing Director and the President of the World Bank), the choice of a name for the new forum was not immediately obvious. One proposal was to call it the “G-19,” consistent with the number of country participants. However, there was concern that this might lead to pressure for additional members.

“G-20” was adopted on the basis that it was a round number, suggesting finality, and was consistent with the number of countries represented plus the European Union


Add new comment