South-South Ideas Paper: The Importance of South-South Cooperation in Strengthening Global South Trade, Investments and Regional Integration: A Contextual Overview

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Constant shifts in the global reality have challenged human development to exceed average expectations. From tackling innovative sustainable growth barriers to managing the global upkeep with rapidly transforming digital technologies, there is a consistent need for economies to collaborate, innovate and change for the betterment of their societies. In light of these necessary changes, there is an overlapping conversation that demands that particular attention be given to the development concerns and challenges of the Global South. The provision of enhanced frameworks that facilitate social, economic and political cooperation on every level among countries of the Global South has become an ever-more significant topic on the global stage. As the Global South becomes an increasingly important driver of the world’s economy, South-South and intraregional trade become more central to development discourse. To facilitate and strengthen cohesion among growing economies in the Global South, cross-country networks encouraging competitive business environments is key.

Triangular cooperation is, in many ways, a modality with the potential to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The modality must, however, provide comprehensive initiatives that take into consideration the multifaceted nature of regional integration in the developing world. There is a need to identify and examine the significant structural and economic barriers that developing regions face in increasing trade and investment. This will require drawing from resources to build platforms and improve infrastructure, enhance institutions and harmonize economic policies on a regional level. Through engagement in discourse on South-South trade and investment opportunities, it becomes less challenging to promote regional policies and economic frameworks that facilitate regional trade and investment for the achievement of the SDGs. In this light, we can then begin to ask comprehensively analytical questions such as how the implications of mobilizing the private sector in the Global South can leverage effective contributions towards economic development.

An important takeaway from this publication is the recognition and consideration of economic contributions from emerging and developing economies to the global economy and how these contributions can use existing and new South-South cooperation (SSC) platforms to promote regional integration. For instance, many economies of the Global South have had unique experiences in their integration into the global economy; however, this economic integration can be further enhanced through the use of SSC platforms. SSC is a modality with the evident potential to foster knowledge-sharing and promote innovative solutions and mutual benefits for all partners involved. Through such modalities, developing economies, especially those that share regional proximity, can work together to increase technical cooperation, institutional and infrastructural capacity-building activities. On the international level, it is critical to tackle such strategies with the consideration of a historical context and an overview of which challenges and successes developing countries have overcome in fostering trade and regional integration up until this point. It is also critical, therefore, to provide examples of regional bilateral and multilateral institutions that have undertaken instrumental SSC initiatives to showcase the benefits of successful intraregional trade. This is an essential pillar of the work presented throughout the subsequent chapters.