Basically speaking, the biggest bottleneck in the development world economy is the unbalanced development of developing countries. Over long time, the unequal distribution of resource wealth and resource result in the vicious cycle of developing countries. Thus, accelerating economic and social development of developing countries is the important way to achieve prosperity of the world. South-South cooperation is now playing an important role in the world economy.
Since 1960, to reduce dependency and dominance from Northern powers, some developing countries like China, Brazil, India and South Africa which are known as countries of the global south have exchanged the resources, technology and knowledge. In 1978, the United Nations established the Unit for South-South cooperation to promote south-south trade and collaboration within its agencies. However, the idea of south-south cooperation started to influence the field of development in the late 1990s.
One of the main objectives of the cooperation is to strengthen and promote economical cooperation. Some of the areas which these “southern” nations look forward to developing further consist of mutual investment in energy and oil, and a common bank. The trade among developing countries not only lead to capital and technical flow on mutually beneficial areas, and also improve the competitiveness of developing countries through overcoming the trade barriers and condition. Another area that the developing countries intend to see big developments is in the political area.
It means that the cooperation will give the countries more political power in the matter of a global arena. Some leaders hope that the cooperation will offer a total freedom in choosing a political system. For example, Hugo Chavez hopes to use the South-South cooperation as a stage to get his message of what he calls “21st Century Socialism” across. China, as a developing country, has committed to the South-South cooperation in the way of providing assistance within its capacity.
Shortly after the founding of New China in 1950s, although it’s own financial resources are tight, China provides economic and technical assistance to other developing countries and gradually expand the range of assistance in the late 1970s. The international assistance of China to developing countries makes a lot of benefit in promoting South-South cooperation. This essay starts with reviewing the background of south-south cooperation and the characteristics of the current South-South cooperation. Then it outlines the economic and political dimension of south-south cooperation, particularly in the case of china.
Background overview of the south-south cooperation South-South cooperation refers to operative activities including the economic, political and technical cooperation among developing countries, as most developing countries are located in the southern hemisphere or southern countries in the northern hemisphere. The main contents of South-South cooperation include the promotion of technical cooperation, economic cooperation and commitment to strengthen the infrastructure construction, energy, environment and human resource development etc. outh-south cooperation aims to develop self-reliance and to share the knowledge or experience in order to strengthen economic ties among nations whose market forces is more similarly matched than in corresponding North-South relationships. With the process of decolonization, many developing countries lack of trained professionals, experienced managers, skilled personnel and funds after World War II. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, developing countries are increasingly concerned about its dependence on foreign aid.
There is always a gap between the supplier and demander. For example, technologies provided by developed countries are often not suited to conditions in developing countries. Dependence on the developed countries has also led to unsustainable development. If the economic recession or political vies are inconsistent, developing countries will not achieve the goals due to lack of foreign aid. The process of decolonization was boosting because of anti-colonial movements supported each other.
The afro-Asian conference held at Bandung in 1955 which promote the establishment of organization between primary producing country and raw material exporter is considered to be the beginning of south-south cooperation, Non-Aligned Movement was found in 1961 and the Group of 77 was set up in 1964, as the beginning of collective action by the southern countries in a bid to advance common interests. On account of recognizing the need to increase the lateral communication, developing countries start to pay attention to economic cooperation and technical cooperation in 1970s.
This period was noted by the enhancive activism of the Non-Aligned movement and the Group of 77. The United Nations General Assembly adopted several resolutions called upon the international community especially the United Nation system to enhance technical exchanges between developing countries. In addition, the United National Development Program (UNDP) Governing Council adopted a resolution on technical cooperation program in order to strengthen South-South cooperation in 1975.
These efforts led up to the adoption by the conference held in Buenos Aires of the resolution on technical cooperation program. In the 1970s to the late 1980s, developing countries achieved significant progress with the establishment of regional economic organization. The first South-South cooperation meeting was held in New Delhi in1982, then in Beijing in 1983 and in Kuala Lumpur in 1989 –which considered as the important milestone of South-South cooperation. In essence, South-South cooperation refers to achieve self-reliance and common development facing the unequal North-South economic relation.
In fact, many developing countries which benefit from the economic and trade exchange have realized the value and prospects of South-South cooperation. For example, three large developing countries such as India, Brazil and South Africa have built the dialogue forum in 2003, however, just a loose coalition in the beginning, which become an important mechanism with the deepening of consultations and the expanding of discussed content. Characteristics of the current South-South cooperation
After the Cold War, due to further differentiation and international status decline of the developing countries, global organizations of developing countries such as the Non-Aligned Movement, is in a disadvantageous position. Nevertheless, developing countries never stopped requirement to establish a fair, rational and equitable international order. Since the late 1990s, it becomes more urgent because of the marginalization of developing countries. In recent years, developing countries have strengthened solidarity on a global scale reflected in activity of Non-Aligned Movement and G77.
In recent years, developing countries such as China, South Africa, Cuba, Venezuela, and other big developing countries play an important role in safeguarding the rights and interests of developing countries. Since 1998 served as chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement, South Africa not only actively has coordinated and promoted the Non-Aligned Movement affairs, and also has conducted a series of international conferences such as the World Racism Conference, Asia and Africa Forum, the World Summit on Sustainable Development and so on.
Besides, in regional economic integration organizations, big developing countries such as South African in the Southern African Development Community also play an important role. In the face of the challenges of globalization, economic cooperation among developing countries is greatly developed in the depth and diversity. Currently, regional integration organizations emerge throughout Asia, Africa. In Asia, the economic integration of Southeast Asia which is the most advanced developing countries in the region progress rapidly.
In addition to speeding up the progress of investment of Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) free area, ASEAN also strengthen the economic cooperation of the Mekong River. In Latin America, the most noteworthy is the Southern Common Market which shows a strong vitality since established. The value of trade among the members of the organization increased rapidly from 1990 to 1998. In Africa, regional economic is well developed as others.
These economic integration organizations such as Southern African Development Community, the Economic Community of West African States, the Central African Economic and Monetary Community are committed to reduce trade tariffs and establish free trade area. Economic dimension of south-south cooperation Developing countries have conducted various forms of economic cooperation since their independence. Undoubtedly, Bandung Conference held in 1955 is of great significance which adopted the “economic cooperation”. Since then, with the accelerating pace of South-South cooperation, a series of resolutions and plans were adopted.
For example, “economic cooperation on the Non-Aligned countries Action Plan” adopted by Non-Aligned Movement Foreign Minister Conference in 1972, “Buenos Aires Plan of Action” accepted by United Nations Conference on Technical Cooperation in 1978, “Challenge to the South” published by the South Commission in 1990, “South Summit Conference Declaration” and “Havana Program of Action” approved by the Group of 77 South Summit for the first meeting. In most developing countries, the content of economic cooperation include agricultural, extractive industries, andicrafts, light industry, processing industry and other regions since the independence. The content of South-South cooperation will be broader in the conditions of globalization. In primary industry, in addition to traditional cooperation project such as tropical fruits, flowers, vegetables, edible fungus and the development and promotion of fish farming, the cooperation start to focus on the ecological agriculture and animal husbandry fishery considering comprehensive utilization of resources, multi-material recycling, both economic and ecological benefits as target.
In the second industry, with the relatively complete industrial system built by some developing countries, these countries possess a considerable competitive strength in light industry, textile, home appliances and chemical processing industry. For example, manufacturing of developing countries accounted for only 15. 6% of gross domestic product in 1960 and then reached 25% in the early 1990s. (Chang Zheng, Chen Fengjun). In the tertiary industry, the cooperation about financial, insurance, tourism and other field has also increased.
Especially, developing countries work more closely in the financial, insurance field after East Asian financial crisis. In recent years, value of export of developing countries rapidly increases. For instance, the exports account for the proportion of its total exports is 28. 7% in 1985, 32. 5% in 1990, 41. 5% in 1995, and 38. 0% in 2000. At the same time, value of trade among developing countries also showed rapid growth. In Latin American , for example, the exports account for the proportion of its total exports of Latin American is 12. % in 1985, 16. 5% in 1990, 20. 5% in 1995 and 22. 1% in 2000. (United Nations World Economic and Social Survey ,1999. ) However, there is much room for trade development among developing countries. With the further development of economic integration, values of regional and sub-regional trade potentially increase. For example, the trade volume among the four southern countries soared from 3. 5 billion dollars in 1998 to 21billion dollars. (Shang Deliang).
Trade among developing countries at present are mainly concentrated in low value-added products, raw materials and primary products. With the growth of developing economy, the proportion of high value-added products will be gradually expanded. These more advanced developing countries may become important producers of primary products while other developing countries export more finished products. Currently, the main parts with which the developing countries trade is mainly developed countries except the neighboring countries.
With the increase of economic exchanges, especially in large developing countries, the trade will further diversify. Compared with the trade, promoting mutual investment among developing countries is more effective in promoting economic cooperation in developing countries. Mutual investment not only help developing countries to share resources, complementary advantages, learning advanced technology and management experience from each other and human recourse management, but also help developing countries taking the joint of development.
Since the 1980s, foreign investment from developing countries experienced a rapid growth. According to statistics, the annual foreign direct investment of developing countries amounted to $ 23. 509 billion from 1993 to 1998 and then it has been increased to 656. 38 billion dollars. Political dimension of south-south cooperation Since the developing countries ascended the stage of history, it makes the importance of the South-South cooperation clear through north – south dialogue and the process of fighting for creating international economy new order.
The famous international political theoretician Chrysler who is a professor of Stanford University, discover that the speed of the development of the developing countries is very fast after World War II no matter compared to the history of themselves, nor the speed of the development of the countries in the North at the same time. According to his observation, in the 1960s and 1970s, with the new order of international initiatives raised by developing countries, and most strongly opposing to liberal international order, it is the best performance period of these developing countries’ economy.
Thus, the strength and the unity of the southern could be the protection of the developing countries striving for fair and reasonable international order. On the condition of globalization, political cooperation will still be the main power of South-South cooperation. Developing countries are still needed sharing of globalization advantages in the equal, promoting the reform of the United Nations, realizing the democratization of international relations, ensuring that southern state could take the equal position in international decision-making, pushing the multi-polarization development, safeguarding legitimate rights and interests f developing nations and strengthening cooperation and consultation through the United Nations, regional cooperation organization, and International Conference on various forums. As a victim of unequal international economical order, developing countries have always taken better international economical developing circumstance as the important target of South-South cooperation. In 1964, the First United Nations Conference on Trade and Development was held in Geneva which takes the new opinion of building the justice international economical order.
After that, developing countries has restated the opinion for many times. The sixth special session of the United Nations General Assembly held in 1974 passed ‘Declaration on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order’ and ‘program of action’, which led developing countries to reach the climax of fighting. Although some progresses have been made, the adverse international developing circumstances have not radically changed and they are still in the subordinate place in the current international economical order.
During the Uruguay Round, developing countries are in the ‘sleeping’ state in the world economic negotiations, this state led to the disadvantageous position in current competition in the economy position. However, since the Seattle meeting, this situation changed. Currently, no matter in the World Economic Forum or in the WTO negotiations, developing countries are unprecedented stirring when they participate in the dispute of international economic rules. Technological progress especially advances in communication technology result in globalization trend of the cultural homogenization and cultural exchange.
Variety fusion and integration among cultures, civilizations and sharing of tradition are not only the objective laws of historical development, but also reflect the progress of mankind. In the 21st century, with the depth development of globalization, developing countries face unprecedented challenges in culture, civilization and tradition. About Fifty delegations of the Non-Aligned countries attend the international conference held in Colombia which noted that positive concept of globalization considered as a wealth of human culture and the only option should be well developed.
After the first South Summit, the G77 considered the biennial meeting such as South Arts Festival. Therefore, cultural cooperation operation, as important role of South-South cooperation is a key issue in the 21st century. China in the South-South Cooperation It is been a long history since china’s participation in South-South cooperation. Since the founding of New China, it launched aid to developing countries although the national strength of China is very limited at the time. In whole, China plays a positive role in the development of national economy for the recipient countries.
In respond to the “Buenos Aires Action Program”, China actively promotes the economic and technical cooperation between developing countries. Prior to 1979, UNDP organized various special industry study tours, training courses, workshops and seminars using the annual contribute money of china. Later, the cooperative relationship between China and UNDP entered a new development stage with the result of establishing regional and international research and training centers, such as Hangzhou international research and training center of hydropower, Wuxi freshwater fishing center and Acupuncture Training Center.
As a developing country, China is an active advocate and supporter of South-South cooperation. For a long time, based on the principles of equality, mutual benefit, effectiveness, diversity and common development, China have carried out extensive and in-depth cooperation in economic, technological, educational and cultural field. For some of the difficulties of developing country, China is willing to provide assistance within its capacity. For a long time, China, as part of developing countries, provided financial and technical assistance for the other developing countries in an effort to actively help their economic development.
Since 2008, China has been the largest export market of the developing countries. In the framework of South-South cooperation, China always helps other developing countries within the priority areas. In the area of food security, China has provided food assistance to a total of 43 billion Yuan (RMB) through bilateral channels. In order to help the food crisis of African countries, China has announced to the country a total of 533. 2 million Yuan (RMB) to alleviate the crisis. In infrastructure area, China has helped developing countries build 632 infrastructure projects.
The case of China must be highlighted, given its investments in developing countries, particularly in Africa, as well as in neighboring East Asian countries. To aid in Africa, it is estimated to spend about $5. 7 billion alone up to 2006. There is no officially report in which the fund concretely used until now. In 2003, China has set an important example by fulfilling the commitments made by the international community at the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development by reducing or eliminating $1. billion of debt in favor of 31 African countries, disputing that world peace and development cannot possibly be sustained if the North-South divide grows wider and developing countries grow slowly. In 2006, President Hu Jintao announced that China would double aid to Africa by 2009, and provide $5 billion additional in loans. In the strategic and political level, the cooperation between China and Africa will improve the international influence as a whole and promote the establishment of equal international political and economic order.
As having the same positions about fighting against unilateralism, stressing development priorities, and maintaining the authority in the United Nation, the cooperation between China and Africa promote democracy in international relations and influence the international affairs. The Export-Import Bank of China plays a strategic role. Since its establishment in 1994 to 2006, the 259 loans only in Africa (mainly in the Angola, Nigeria, Mozambique, Sultan and Zimbabwe) provided by the Export-Import Bank of china.
Most of them are infrastructure projects include: energy and mining (40%), multiple department (24%), transport (20%), telecommunications (12%) and water (4%). There is a major reason that Southern countries attracted by Export-Import Bank of China. In addition to investment from China, these loans are without other additional conditions such as policy conditions, environmental or social standards. China is very willing to participate actively in the field of agriculture through multilateral South-South cooperation in an effort to provide assistance within its capacity for develop agricultural production and food security.
Because of this, China has been involved in agriculture area of South-South cooperation. China is not only the first country which responds and positively participates in “Special Program for Food Security” (SPFS), but also the one who send more agricultural experts and technicians than any other country. Since 1996, china has made remarkable achievements by involving in the implementation of a large number of related projects. Conclusion South-South Cooperation is a crucial force in world economic development today. The enhancement of South-South cooperation can not only brings pportunities for developing countries, but also reduces the risk of world economic system. This newfound economic power of South-South cooperation could alter the balance of political power as well. As they grow less dependent upon northern markets for their economic well-being, southern states are emerging with new power and a stronger voice at the bargaining tables of multinational organizations. Future agreement on important international and multilateral issues in areas of trade, environmental protection, and human rights will require broader outreach to achieve true international consensus.
China, considered net recipients of aid, is now emerging as net donors, concentrating aid efforts on the southern countries and playing an important role in the South-South cooperation. China always attaches to South-South cooperation and regard it as an important component of China’s diplomacy. In conclusion, this essay has discussed the concept of South-South cooperation with a review of the historical development, and also briefly surveys the Characteristics of the current South-South cooperation which related to diversification development trend and regional South-South cooperation.
In the next section, the economic and political dimension of South-South cooperation was discussed with several aspects. At last, the essay focuses on the case of China to further analyze the South-South cooperation. It is obvious that South-South cooperation not only promotes economic development in developing countries but also enhance the capacity of self-reliance which further impetus to the establishment of new international economic order.