What Is the Group of Five (G5)?

The "Group of Five (G5)" is a label that has been used to refer to the countries: Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa. These emerging market economies include the so-called BRIC nations and represent a fast-growing and increasingly important geo-political and economic segment of the world.

Prior to this usage, G5 once referred to a group of large Western European countries.

Key Takeaways

  • The Group of Five (G5) 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

Group of Five is a shorthand that follows a common pattern in diplomacy: national leaders will periodically convene summits labeled according to the number of countries participating – G8 or G20, for example. G5 was recently used in the 2000s to refer to the five largest emerging economies: Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.

The G5 grouping has significant overlap with the more famous BRICS—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—which has gained prominence while the G5 has become inactive. The G5's website is no longer available, but an archived version from 2009 says the group "plays an active role in the transformation of the international landscape with the objective of promoting dialogue and understanding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" (translated from Spanish).

G5 is also the former name of the G6, 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 (G8) 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 United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Japan, Italy, France, and, until recently, Russia, meet periodically to address international economic and monetary issues. In 2014, Russia was suspended indefinitely from the group after annexing Crimea, an autonomous republic of Ukraine. As a result, the G8 is now often referred to as the G7.

The Group of 20, also called the G20, is a group of finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 of the world's largest economies, including those of many developing nations, along with the European Union. Formed in 1999, the G20 has a mandate to promote global economic growth, international trade, and regulation of financial markets. Along with the members of the G7, 12 other nations currently comprise the G20: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey.