On World Malaria Day 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report by the Global Malaria Programme called Eliminating malaria that identified 21 countries with the potential to eliminate malaria by 2020. The analysis was based on 1) the total number of indigenous malaria cases reported from 2000-2014; 2) the declared malaria objectives of the country, and; 3) the informed opinions of WHO experts in the field, 21 countries have been identified as having the potential to eliminate malaria by 2020. The countries identified were: Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Paraguay, Suriname, (PAHO); China, Malaysia, Republic of Korea (WPRO); Saudi Arabia, Iran (Islamic Republic of) (EMRO); South Africa, Botswana, Cabo Verde, Comoros, Algeria, Swaziland (AFRO); and Timor-Leste, Nepal, Bhutan (SEARO). These 21 countries are the special focus of WHO efforts to accelerate national elimination efforts and monitor progress to malaria-free status and are referred to as the Elimination-2020 (E-2020) initiative. The E-2020 countries are spread across five WHO regions: countries share some common challenges in eliminating malaria as well as different and unique challenges inherent to each region and country. The first country of the E-2020 to eliminate malaria, Paraguay, was certified malaria-free by WHO in June 2018. There are 10 other countries on track to eliminate human malaria parasites by 2020. The E-2020 countries are at different points on the continuum of transmission and the approach to malaria elimination will be different from country to country depending on the surveillance systems, epidemiology of malaria, funding (particularly domestic), and political commitment. However, these countries also share some similarities, including vulnerability to the importation of malaria from migrants, visitors, and mobile populations. Malaria elimination must be driven and owned by national governments, as only they can organize the necessary political will and domestic financing that is essential for elimination to be achieved.