emm sequence typing is the most widely used method for defining group A streptococcal (GAS) strains, and has been applied to isolates in all regions of the world. We did a systematic review of the global distribution of GAS emm types. 102 articles and reports were included (38 081 isolates). Epidemiological data from high-income countries were predominant, with sparse data from low-income countries. The epidemiology of GAS disease in Africa and the Pacific region seems to be different from that in other regions, particularly high-income countries. In Africa and the Pacific, there were no dominant emm types, a higher diversity of emm types, and many of the common emm types in other parts of the world were less common (including emm 1, 4, 6, and 12). Our data have implications for the development of GAS vaccines. On the basis of the available data, the current formulation of the experimental multivalent emm vaccine would provide good coverage in high-income countries, particularly USA, Canada, and Europe, but poor coverage in Africa and the Pacific, and only average coverage in Asia and the Middle East.