What Is the Group of Five (G-5)?

The Group of Five (G-5) is a country grouping that since the mid-2000s includes Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa. These emerging market economies include three of the four so-called BRIC nations and represent a fast-growing and increasingly important geopolitical and economic segment of the world.

Prior to this usage, the G-5 historically referred to France, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and West Germany.

Key Takeaways

  • The Group of Five (G-5) is a country grouping that includes Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa.
  • These emerging market and BRIC economies are increasingly important on the world stage.
  • This organization, like other "G" groupings, seeks to promote diplomacy, trade, and policy among and between members.

Understanding the Group of Five (G-5)

Group of Five (G-5) is a shorthand that follows a common pattern in diplomacy: national leaders will periodically convene summits labeled according to the number of countries participatingG-8 or G-20, for example.

The 2003 summit of the G-8 included the participation of the five largest emerging economies: Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa. This gathering was later referred to as the "G8+5" at the 2005 summit. By 2007, the countries were known as the G-5, but later lost relevance as other groupings became more important.

The G-5 grouping overlaps with the more famous BRIC grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, and China, which gained prominence over the G-5. The G-5's website is no longer available, but an archived version says the group "plays an active role in the transformation of the international landscape with the objective of promoting dialogue and understanding between developing countries and developed ones in order to find common solutions to global challenges." (Text translated from Spanish).

G-5 is also the former name of the G-6, a grouping now comprised of Germany, France, the U.K., Italy, Spain, and Poland. The group was renamed when Poland joined in 2006.

Other Country Groups

The Group of Eight (G-8) is an assembly of the world's largest developed economies that have established a position as pacesetters for the industrialized world. Leaders of member countries the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Germany, Japan, Italy, and France meet periodically to address international economic and monetary issues. In 2014, Russia was suspended from the group after annexing Crimea, an autonomous republic of Ukraine. As a result, the G-8 is now often referred to as the G-7, or Group of Seven.

The Group of Twenty (G-20) is a larger group of finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 of the world's largest economies and the European Union (EU). Formed in 1999, the G-20 has a mandate to promote global economic growth, international trade, and regulation of financial markets. Its members are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey, the U.K, the U.S., and the EU, with Spain invited as a permanent guest.

Focusing on the developing world, the Group of 24 (G-24) was established in 1971 to coordinate developing countries in matters of international monetary and development finance issues. The G-24 is a chapter of the Group of 77 (G-77), the largest intergovernmental group of developing states in the United Nations (UN).