G7, G8, G19, G20 Who’s In Who’s Out

Russia has been booted out of the G8.  It’s a big deal, and now it’s a G7, so what is the G8, or the G7, or the G8+5 or the G20, and is it the G19 now?  And what does the G stand for anyway?


Let’s start with the easy bit, G stands for “Group”, yes it’s that simple, this is a group, not a non-governmental organisation, just a group.  There’s no organisation, no offices, no staff.  Think of it like the most powerful book group in the world, except people don’t talk about books, they talk about issues that affect everyone on earth.

It was a group of 6 when it started out, the six biggest economies on the planet in 1975:

  • France
  • West Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Then Canada was invited along, because Canadians are nice.  Russia joined in 1998, but are sitting it out on the naughty step right now.  The EU gets a seat, but isn’t included in the number, four of the countries already come from the EU.  That G8 group accounted for half of the world’s GDP.

Then there was a +5, taking account of some of the fast growing and hugely populous countries.

  • Brazil
  • China
  • India  
  • Mexico
  • South Africa

You may recognise some of thee nations from our primer on the Brics, Pigs and Mints.


The G20 brings in

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Indonesia
  • Saudi Arabia 
  • South Korea
  • Turkey

But when counting up to get to 20, the EU does get a seat this time around.