The Group of Eight, or G8, was the name of a political forum that ran from 1997 until 2014. Devoted to addressing global issues such as world hunger, security, medicine, and poverty, its membership included the following nations:
- United Kingdom
- United States
- The European Union ("non-enumerated" member)
The forum that grew into the G8 was founded in the early 1970s. Though it inititally included only four member countries (the US, UK, West Germany, and France), it quickly added Japan, Italy, and Canada and became the Group of Seven (G7) in 1976. Russia accepted an invitation to join in 1997, forming the G8.
However, when Russia annexed the Ukranian region of Crimea in 2014, its membership in the G8 was suspended. The remaining members reverted back to the G7 name, and Russia officially withdrew from the group in 2017.
These seven nations have about 58% of the world’s total wealth at about $317 trillion. Over 46% of the world’s nominal GDP is represented in these nations.
The forum was founded in order to facilitate macroeconomic initiatives following the collapse of the exchange rate in 1971. The group meets every year to talk about economic policies and has taken on many initiatives throughout the years, including an initiative for the world’s heavily indebted poor countries in 1996 and a meeting to discuss the global financial crisis of the 2000s.
While it inititally focused upon economics, the modern G7 discusses topics including not only economic governance, but also energy policies, international security, and health initiatives. For more about the G7, visit our G7 Countries page.