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It is time to rethink the G20: who is there and who participates?

The last G20 summit brought together the 20 largest economies in the world. Or maybe it wasn't like that? Countries like Argentina are no longer part of the economic powers, but they are still invited

Members of the G20 summit

Photo: TW-g20org

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: Es momento de replantear el G20: ¿Quiénes están y quiénes participan?

When talking about the international system and hegemonic power, the first thing that comes to mind is the UN Security Council and, suddenly, the group of the 7 greatest Western powers, called the G-7. Just behind, however, is the G-20, a group of the 20 biggest economic powers.

The G-20, which recently held a summit, is made up of Germany, Canada, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan and Russia, the European Union, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, South Korea, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, and Turkey.

However, today, many of these countries represent historical importance, but less current relevance. The clearest case is Argentina, a country that for the International Monetary Fund is economy number 30. Above the South American nation are countries such as Switzerland, Thailand, Nigeria, Taiwan, and Ireland, among others.

So why does Argentina have a bigger voice and vote on the world scene than, for example, Nigeria? Argentina in the past has indeed been considered one of the "second world" countries. A nation with good development rates, but sadly, currently, South Americans are another. Today African Nigeria is the most populous nation on the entire continent, and the sixth on the entire planet. They are approximately 225 million Nigerians, more than Brazil, Mexico, Russia, and Japan. The population in Nigeria represents about 2.8% of the entire planet. It is time for the G-20 to update itself, to be a summit of powerful economic countries, but also with developing economies and populations that need to have a voice in the global context.

Today Argentina suffers from inflation and generates concern on the world scene due to its poverty and vulnerability figures. There are no signs of stability and its problems in paying the external debt mean that the River Plate country has enough internal problems and its participation in the G-20 cannot be as profitable.

But it's not just Argentina, South Africa is also a clear example of a power of the 90s that today is not as important as other countries. Despite being part of the BRICS group and the G-20, today South Africa has the world's 33rd GDP, even lower than Egypt. Similarly, in population terms, Egypt itself, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have a larger number of people than the southern country.

But neither is it positive that Argentina or South Africa come out of such an important event. They are nations of the global south that still have regional importance. Both South Africa and Argentina are some of the largest food producers in the world. However, the group of 20 must rethink.

It is time for the G-20 to stop pretending to be a group of rich and powerful countries trying to solve the world's problems. Today, international development models call for active participation from the global south. It is not enough to choose the richest countries, but also the countries that need cooperation to find possible alternatives and ideas together. Today, the G20 needs to change to a G-30 or G-40, in which there is greater participation of African and Latin American countries, where the size of the GDP is not the reason for the invitation, but the crucial role that they can play these actors on the international scene.