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Saudi Arabia Becomes First Arab Nation to Head G20

  • 02 Dec 2019
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, Saudi Arabia became the first Arab nation to take over the G20 Presidency on December 1, 2019.

  • It has taken over from Japan and it will host the G20 Summit in its capital, Riyadh on November 21 and 22, 2020.
  • The theme of Summit- "Realising Opportunities of the 21st Century for All".
  • The three key aims of the G20 Presidency, 2020 are: ​
    • Empowering People by creating the conditions in which all people mainly women and youth can live, work and thrive.
    • Safeguarding the Planet by fostering collective efforts to protect our global common-pool resources.
    • Shaping New Frontiers by adopting long-term and bold strategies to share the benefits of innovation and technological advancement.​


  • As the presiding nation, Saudi Arabia has to work towards mitigating global risks like climate change, demographic issues, such as low birth rates, rising life expectancy and aging societies which requires coordinated efforts at global level. However, rising populism and nationalism may prevent the progress at the multilateral level.
  • It has promoted a liberalisation drive, including granting greater rights to women. However, incidents like the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi drew intense global criticism over human rights issues in Saudi Arabia.
  • Therefore, G20 member states should exert pressure on the Saudi Arabia for its authoritative policies and hold it accountable for its human rights obligations.


  • About
    • The G20 is an informal group of 19 countries and the European Union, with representatives of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
    • The G20 membership comprises a mix of the world’s largest advanced and emerging economies, representing about two-thirds of the world’s population, 85% of global gross domestic product, 80% of global investment and over 75% of global trade.
  • Headquarter
    • The G20 operates as a forum and not as an organisation. Therefore, it does not have any permanent secretariat or management and administrative structure.
  • Origin
    • 1997-1999 Asian Financial Crisis: This was a ministerial-level forum which emerged after G7 invited both developed and developing economies. The finance ministers and central bank governors began meeting in 1999.
    • Amid 2008 Financial Crisis the world saw the need for a new consensus-building at the highest political level. It was decided that the G20 leaders would begin meeting once annually.
  • Members
    • The members of the G20 are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union.
    • One nation holds the Chair every year, known as 'G20 Presidency'. Argentina chaired the G20 summit of 2018 and Japan for 2019.

Source: IE

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