G20: In focus

The G20 summit in London in April 2009 will be one of the most important meetings of world leaders in recent history.

At the forefront of the agenda will be how to combat the world’s first economic contraction in 60 years expected in 2009. This snapshot examines who comprises the G20 and the importance of these countries on a global scale.

  • The G20 (group of twenty finance ministers and central bank governors) was created in 1999 to acknowledge the growing importance of emerging markets on a global level. It is an annual forum of the world’s most important industrialised and emerging economies. 2009 will be only the second time that the heads of government will also meet, highlighting the importance of the 2009 London summit;
  • The G20 comprises the USA, Japan, China, Germany, France, UK, Italy, Russia, Brazil, Canada, India, Mexico, Australia, South Korea, Turkey, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, South Africa and the rest of the EU (represented by the European council president);
  • The April 2009 meeting will focus on far-reaching issues such as: reviving the world economy; restoring bank lending; improving financial regulation; re-examining the role of the IMF, providing aid for developing economies and avoiding the spectre of protectionism.

G20 GDP

  • The G20 accounted for 87.3% of global GDP in 2008. The USA comprised the largest single share in 2008 at 23.6% of world GDP while the total EU accounted for a further 30.2%.
G20’s GDP as a proportion of world total: 2008

Source: Euromonitor International from IMF.

G20 population

  • The G20 countries made up 65.0% of the world’s population in January 2009 accounting for a total 4.4 billion people. China and India by far dominate the G20 grouping in terms of population size with their combined populations contributing 56.8% of the G20 population in January 2009. In comparison, the EU and USA combined accounted for just 18.2% of the G20 based on population size.
G20 population size: January 2009
Source: Euromonitor International from national statistics/UN.

G20 standards of living

  • However, wide disparities exist across the G20 in terms of standards living. GDP per capita in PPP terms (purchasing power parity) highlights this with the USA having the highest of the G20 at I$47,601 in 2008 per capita with India at the other end of the scale with just I$2,829 per capita.
GDP per capita in PPP terms of G20: 2008
I$ per capita

Source: Euromonitor International from IMFNote: Purchasing power parity (PPP): A method of measuring the relative purchasing power of different countries’ currencies over the same types of goods and services. Because goods and services may cost more in one country than in another, PPP allows us to make more accurate comparisons of standards of living across countries.

G20 by 2020

  • By 2020, the G20 share of global GDP in PPP terms is expected to stand at 79.8% from 83.5% in 2008 as the global economy shifts, with emerging economies becoming increasingly dominant on a world level;
  • Within the G20 itself, the industrialised countries’ share of GDP in PPP terms will decrease from 65.0% in 2008 to 50.4% by 2020 while the emerging economies’ share will increase from 35.0% in 2008 to 49.6% by 2020.
Emerging and industrialised share of G20 GDP in PPP terms: 2008 and 2020
% of G20 GDP

Source: Euromonitor International from IMFNote: Purchasing power parity (PPP): A method of measuring the relative purchasing power of different countries’ currencies over the same types of goods and services. Because goods and services may cost more in one country than in another, PPP allows us to make more accurate comparisons of standards of living across countries.