Regional power

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Leaders of most regional powers during the 2015 G-20 summit in Antalya, Turkey

In international relations, a regional power is a state that has power within a geographic region.[1][2] States which wield unrivalled power and influence within a region of the world possess regional hegemony.


Regional powers shape the polarity of a regional area. Typically, regional powers have capabilities which are important in the region but do not have capabilities at a global scale. Slightly contrasting definitions differ as to what makes a regional power. The European Consortium for Political Research defines a regional power as: "A state belonging to a geographically defined region, dominating this region in economic and military terms, able to exercise hegemonic influence in the region and considerable influence on the world scale, willing to make use of power resources and recognized or even accepted as the regional leader by its neighbours".[1]

The German Institute of Global and Area Studies states that a regional power must:[2]

  • form part of a definable region with its own identity
  • claim to be a regional power (self-image of a regional power)
  • exert decisive influence on the geographic extension of the region as well as on its ideological construction
  • dispose over comparatively high military, economic, demographic, political and ideological capabilities
  • be well integrated into the region
  • define the regional security agenda to a high degree
  • be appreciated as a regional power by other powers in the region and beyond, especially by other regional powers
  • be well connected with regional and global fora

Current regional powers[edit]

  Major Regional Power in Northern America (USA) (also Superpower)
  Major Regional Powers in Latin America (Mexico, Brazil and Argentina)
  Major Regional Powers in Europe (France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom)
  Major Regional Power in Northern Asia and Eastern Europe (Russia)
  Major Regional Power in the Middle East and Southeast Europe (Turkey)
  Major Regional Power in Africa and the Middle East (Egypt)
  Major Regional Powers in Africa (Nigeria and South Africa)
  Major Regional Powers in the Middle East (Israel, Iran and Saudi Arabia)
  Major Regional Power in Southeastern Asia (Indonesia)
  Major Regional Powers in Eastern Asia (China, Japan and South Korea)
  Major Regional Powers in South Asia (India, Pakistan)
  Major Regional Power in Oceania (Australia)

Below are states that have been described as regional powers by international relations and political science academics, analysts, or other experts. These states to some extent meet the criteria to have regional power status, as described above. Different experts have differing views on exactly which states are regional powers. States are arranged by their region, and in alphabetic order. Primary, or major, regional powers (also known as pivotal powers) are placed in the major regions as identified by analysts. Secondary, or minor, regional powers are listed within their sub regions. Major regional powers in bold, and minor regional powers in normal font.


Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa are generally regarded as the major regional powers in the African continent.

North Africa[edit]

Southern Africa[edit]

East Africa[edit]

West Africa[edit]

North America[edit]

Latin America[edit]

South America[edit]

North America[edit]


Historically, China was the dominant power in eastern Asia. However, many decades later, the Empire of Japan first became an important player in World War I as one of the Allied powers, then economic turmoil, its expulsion from the League of Nations, and interest in expansion of mainland caused Japan to become a major player in World War II as one of the Axis powers and China became a key player in World War II as one of the Allied powers. In recent years, a re-balancing of military and economic might towards countries such as China and India has made significant changes in the geopolitics of Asia. China, Japan, and South Korea have also earned greater influence over regions outside Asia.

East Asia[edit]

South Asia[edit]

Southeast Asia[edit]

West Asia[edit]


France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom are regarded as the Big Four of Europe.[55][56] Historically, dominant powers in this region created large colonial empires worldwide (such as the British Empire, French Empire, German Empire and the Italian Empire). Most of the continent is now integrated as a consequence of the enlargement of the European Union.

Transcontinental regional powers[edit]

Transcontinental countries like Russia are able to exert regional influence in large areas of the world.


See also[edit]


^ Considered a great power
^ Member of G20


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