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|Redefining S-S Cooperation: Africa on the Centre Stage|
The concept of South- South cooperation is in the process of transformation. It is no longer limited to the government driven model of collaboration among the countries of the South to influence collectively the global, political and economic scenario. It has become broad based and includes not only the government but the private sector, educational, research institutions and civil society organizations as well. Today South-South cooperation is not an option but an imperative for the developing countries to meet their common challenges.
Linked by commonalities of history, socio- economic and political challenges, the countries of the South can share their issues of common concern, diversify and expand their sources of support and restructure global institutions and develop equitable forms of global interdependence. Areas of collaboration include, inter- alia: technical, trade investments, human resource development, institution building, knowledge sharing on science, technology and health, democracy, good governance, human rights, environment, climate change, anti- terrorism, prevention of conflicts, promotion of gender equality, etc. Mutual aid among countries of the South can be at three levels: bilateral, regional and global. The collaboration could further amplify the voice of the South on issues of importance to developing countries such as; reform of global governance institutions to create a more equitable world order, the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals, poverty, food security, energy security, climate change, and sustainable development to which the countries of the South have committed themselves to and hope to achieve through the advantages that globalization offers.
Africa is rapidly shedding its reputation as a conflict and poverty ridden ‘dark’ continent and emerging as a large market with vast untapped natural resources. This new profile has reinforced interest in the continent globally and specifically among the Asian drivers, mainly India and China. The China-Africa summit (2006) and India-Africa Summit (2008) bear testimony to the ascendant significance of Africa. Chinese and Indian engagement on the African continent is also seen as an alternative to Africa’s earlier engagement with the West that is largely perceived as discriminatory and exploitative. In addition to the Asian presence, the involvement of the Latin American countries in Africa can facilitate the redefinition of the South-South cooperation wherein Africa can emerge on the centre stage through co-operation at bilateral levels that can radiate to regional and eventually global issues of common concern such as the millennium development goals.
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