The history of the South-South cooperation started in 1949 with the establishment of the first UN technical aid programme by the Economic and Social Council and the creation of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 1969.
The idea of “south-south cooperation” started to influence the field of development studies in the late 1990s. It was fueled by a growing realisation that poor nations might find appropriate, low-cost and sustainable solutions to their problems in other developing countries rather than in the rich north.
With persistent inequality, poverty and inequity in access to social services and economic opportunities, pervading most part of the Global South, thereby creating deficits in human development, and slowing progress towards achieving development and democratic ideals, it became imminent for the Global South Economic Forum (GSEF) to be established to concretely address the increasing North-South divide.
In response to the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2018 theme ‘Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World’, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the Global South Economic Forum and Founder/Group Executive President of the Africa Asia Scholars Global Network (AASGON) on 19th of July 2018 led a team to meet with the Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Women in New York, to seek solutions in rebuilding the cracked walls. Both agreed on the importance of working together to tackle present and future challenges.
Sighting that the United Nations Office for the South South Cooperation (UNOSSC) – in collaboration with Member States, UN agencies and other development partners – has created a compilation of ‘Good Practices in South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Sustainable Development’, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, in her remark on the occasion marking the United Nations Day of South-South Cooperation at a High-level discussion organized by UNOSSC in New York on 12th September 2018 said “ Together, we must identify and encourage the areas where South-South cooperation can be most effective”.
On socio-economic development, most of the developing countries in the South-South often find it difficult to access funds available in international platforms due to lack of the capacity and ability to write or prepare good bids or present outstanding proposals, and quite often they find it hard to secure funds for bankable projects and mobilise resources for pre-feasibility or feasibility studies.
And thirdly as expressly outlined by the Permanent Representative of Zambia to the United Nations, Ambassador Lazarous Kapambwe, at the UNOSSC High -level forum, ” Economy require best skills – based economy, but the curricular and the current skills in place are skills not adequate particularly for the growth of the African market. There are more Universities than technical colleges and kids that are graduating or been produced are not fit to work in the African economy but rather for the advanced countries”.
These among others such as the reorientation and capacity development of African Trade Missions both in government and the organised private sector as well as the imminent challenges of the 4th Industrial Revolution and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are key priorities being addressed by the Global South Economic Forum ((GSEF) in conjunction with the Africa Asia Scholars Global Network (AASGON) and other stakeholders.
AASGON & COIFAIR
The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was established by the Chinese Government in the year 2000. From 2011 to date the China Overseas Investment Fair (COIFAIR) has consistently invited by our sister organisation, the Africa Asia Scholars Global Network (AASGON), a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and member of the UK Stakeholders Sustainable Development (UKSSD) to participate in a number of China Investment Forums. Over the years the interest of COIFAIR, inspired AASGON’s creative minds, and this was further heightened by the landmark meeting of the Chinese President Xi Jinping where in the presence of 54 African Heads of State at the 2nd Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in December 2015 in South Africa promised a $60 billion AID package towards the development of the continent. Thereafter in response AASGON in 2016 established the Sino-African Diaspora Forum and Awards (SADFA).
With South Africa as Co-Chair of the Forum of China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), acknowledging the absence of a functional collaborative forum for the millions of Chinese and African investors and scholars in the Diaspora and their impending contribution to the success of the ‘Renewed Sino-Africa Cooperation’, the South African High Commissioner in the UK, on the 30th of June 2016, endorsed the formation of SADFA and officially wrote to wish AASGON tremendous success.
With the establishment of SADFA, AASGON founder and Group Executive President, Abdul ‘Dewale Mohammed was invited by the Chinese Shanghai Foreign Investment Development Board in Beijing, to address top Government Officials, Chinese and African Investors at the Sino-Africa Economic Cooperation Forum held on the 21st of July 2016 at Sandton Convention Centre in South Africa.
In his speech to government officials, top chief executives and prominent investors at the Sandton Convention Centre, Abdul called for the formation of China-Africa Infrastructural Bank, China–Africa Association of Small Medium Enterprises and the Forum of Africa-China Ministers and President of Chambers of Commerce and Industry. These he professed will serve as the enabling structures for the facilitation of Africa’s development.
Addressing solutions to our ‘Fractured World’ has proclaimed by the World Economic Forum’ early this year, in Davos Switzerland, AASGON as agents of change and partners in reshaping and rebuilding the fortunes of developing countries of the Global South, commissioned some experts to explore the probability of a decisive structure to address the increasing economic imbalance between the Global North and the Global South and the fractured world as proclaimed at the 2018 World Economic Forum. (WEF)
One of GSEF key objectives is to promote the emerging trilateral cooperation between Africa Britain and China on one side and that of the Africa Britain India trade cooperation, facilitate business, investments, and mutual understanding between the Continent of Africa, the United Kingdom and the People’s Republic of China and India, specifically for the attainment of prosperity and peace in Africa and the rest of the world.
Trilateral Trade Cooperation
Africa Britain China Business Council|ABCBC
The Africa Britain China Business Council (ABCBC), a subsidiary of the Global South Economic Forum (GSEF) promotes Africa British and Chinese Trilateral Trade Cooperation. ABCBC is a ‘think tank’, with significant focus on policy matters and acknowledgement of inclusive governance, proactive public private partnership and popular reform initiatives specifically in support of the transformation and sustainable growth of trade, industry and agriculture in the developing countries of Africa through the new found trilateral relations of Africa Britain and China.
Main strategy is to explore the combined resources of the United Kingdom and that of the Peoples Republic of China to bring about the socio-economic and industrial revolution of Africa in the 21st century. Boasting of high caliber experts with years of success in business and development ABCBC supports the growth and sustainable development of businesses and organisations across the Continent of Africa, Britain and China. With China’s “no strings attached” bilateral approach to developmental relations with Africa mainly on infrastructure and tangible projects, ABC through its Fair Trade Fair Deal Policy provides guidance and support to make certain that Africa within the Britain China trilateral relations evidently fairs better in its poverty reduction scheme and considerably meet with the UN SDGs 2030 and the AU Agenda 2063, a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent
– The ABCBC
- In early 2014, China and the United Kingdom launched a joint study to explore the potential of enhancing the trade performance of African countries and its development impact.
- Covering four countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, the research conducted by the Institute of Development Studies of the UK and the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation (CAITEC) , a think tank of the Chinese Commerce Ministry, deliberated on three salient topics:
- the impact of trade on growth and poverty reduction in each country and the role of Chinese and UK trade, investment and aid-for-trade; challenges and key constraints to increased beneficial trade, including supply-side constraints and barriers to Chinese and UK/markets;
- potential and priority for China-UK cooperation in strengthening African trade performance and poverty reduction, including on policy, aid-for-trade, investment and business-to-business collaboration.
Subsequently on possible China–UK–Africa Trilateral Cooperation on Trade and Investment, a report analyzing’ Prospects and Challenges for UK and China’s Partnership for Africa’s Development was published in 2017.
With the knowledge that the study was conducted in the context of the China–UK Cooperation on African Trade and Investment for Poverty Reduction with direct focus on the evolution of bilateral relations between China and the UK towards trilateral relations with Africa the building of a framework for future cooperation became imminent.
Thereafter the UK based Africa Asia Scholars Global Network (AASGON), a signatory to the UN Global Compact (UNGC) and Member of the UK Stakeholders Sustainable Development (UKSSD) carried out an in-depth research and consultation with pertinent experts in the UK, China and Africa which ultimately led to the founding of the Africa Britain China Business Council (ABCBC) mainly on the basis and motivation from the success of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) astute management and effective collaboration with China in joint business engagement with Africa.
The Africa Britain China Business Council (ABCBC) strengthens growth and sustainable development in the continent of Africa through the facilitation of trade, investments export, infrastructure, agriculture, technology between the United Kingdom and China, the extensively promotes Africa Britain China trilateral relations and fortify China–UK Cooperation on African Trade and Investment for substantial Poverty Reduction.
For Africa to have significant leverage to negotiate with her British and Chinese counterparts, the mission of ABCBC, is to extensively promote active participation of Africa and her inclusiveness in policy and decision making, help improve the economic, civic, and cultural well-being of the people of Africa to further fortify the ‘China–UK Cooperation on African Trade and Investment in areas which are high-cost investments and vital to a Africa’s economic development and prosperity, namely infrastructure, mining, agriculture, financial and nano technology etc.
On the background and absolute conviction that rather than slow down China’s assistance process in Africa, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) managed to collaborate well with China in Africa, the Africa Britain China Business Council (ABCBC) was conceived to enhance and reinforce the emerging trilateral cooperation between Britain and China for the facilitation of Poverty Reduction in the developing countries of Africa.
The Africa Britain India Business Council (ABIBC)
Similarly Indian businesses hope to use the opportunity of the Commonwealth discussions in London to grow trilateral trade between India, Britain and Africa.
As the Commonwealth Business Forum focused on driving intra-Commonwealth trade and investment concluded ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) sought to forge stronger ties with Africa, through a partnership with Britain.
Highlighting the potential for cooperation in education and skills, agriculture, energy and climate change as the “big banner” issues India hoped to focus on, the CII Director General, Chandrajit Banerjee exclaimed “We see an action agenda emanating out of the Commonwealth including the UK and India working with Africa”
This expression was followed by a statement from the Indian High Commissioner YK Sinha, that he believed there were opportunities for the UK and India to work together with Africa such as on opportunities for financing infrastructure projects in Africa, as India had done with the Masala Bonds in London. The astute diplomat professed“ We need to find commonalities between our countries. This initiative to see how they can work together particularly relating to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting is timely.”
India’s Trilateral Relations – JAI and RIC
The Global South Economic Forum (GSEF) shall follow the trend in the rising trilateral JAI (Japan, America India) and Russia-India-China relations.
On the sidelines of the 2018 G-20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Donald Trump and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe attended the first ever JAI trilateral meeting.
Notching up a historic first in India’s foreign policy, close cooperation among these nations augurs well for world peace and stability, PM Modi highlighted.
Showcasing India’s growing global profile and re-affirming global growth through multilateral cooperation, PM Modi was also part of a trilateral with Russian President Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The trio agreed to have regular consultations at all levels to jointly promote international and regional peace and stability, and to address global challenges such as terrorism and climate change.