G8 Countries

First posted 27-Jun-02 at 1836 GMT
Last updated 27-Sep-02 0130 GMT

KANANASKIS, Canada -- Every year, the heads of state of the world's eight most industrialized nations meet to discuss international economic, political and social issues.  The 2002 meeting was held in Kananaskis, Canada and included the heads of state from the G8 nations.

G8 countries

The eight members of the G8 include the following:

  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Russia
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

In addition to the eight heads of state, the G8 Summit in 2002 included both the president of the European Council and the President of the European Commission as representatives of the European Union.


In the early 1970s, the United States Treasury Secretary, George Shultz, met with the finance ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom for informal discussions of global economic issues.  The group was known originally as the "Library Group", which met annually.

In 1975, the annual informal meetings of four finance ministers was expanded to a more formal meeting of the the heads of state from the four original countries plus Japan and Italy, who met in Rambouillet, France.  The group was called the "Group of Six".

In 1976, Canada became a member, and the group became the "Group of Seven".  The members agreed to meet annually in one of the seven countries on a rotating basis.

In 1997, Russia was added, and the group became the "G8".  Every year, the heads of state of the eight G8-member states meet to discuss economic, political and other major issues.


The 2002 G8 Summit focused on several issues, including:

  • Strengthening global economic growth and sustainable development;
  • Building a new partnership for Africa’s development;
  • Fighting terrorism;
  • Promoting universal primary education;
  • Fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases;
  • Bridging the digital divide;  and
  • Debt reduction and the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative.

Additional ministerial meetings

In conjunction with the annual G8 Summit, the ministers of the G8 meet to discuss issues relating to their ministries.

G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors

Through 2002, the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of the G7 -- which includes the same members as the G8 except for Russia -- continued to meet annually.  In future meetings, Russia is expected to become a full member, so its Finance Minister and Central Bank will be represented.

G8 Environment Ministers
G8 Labor and Employment Ministers
G8 Energy Ministers
G8 Justice and Interior Ministers
G8 Foreign Ministers

The ministers of these G8 ministries meet annually in conjunction with the G8 Summit to discuss and coordinate issues relating to their ministries.

Further information