The Group of 20 (G20), a forum of major developed and emerging economies, was formed in 1999 but came to global prominence in 2008 as the need arose for wider global action to tackle the financial crisis that emerged that year.
The G20 represents 90 per cent of global gross domestic product, two-thirds of the world's people and four-fifths of world trade. It has replaced the Group of Eight (G8) as the main forum for international economic coordination.
The G8 members - the United States, Canada, Japan, Russia, Germany, Britain, France and Italy - are part of the G20, which also consists of the European Union, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Turkey, India, China, Indonesia, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Australia.
Organizations such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and United Nations have also taken part in G20 summits.
The presidency of the forum changes each year, and this year, it is held by Russia, which is hosting the summit Thursday and Friday.
The G20's official goals are to ensure "strong, sustainable and balanced" global economic growth; regulate financial markets to avoid a repetition of the 2008 crash; and support the development of poor countries.
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