Towards BAPA+40: Challenges in Defining South-South Cooperation and Development Cooperation from Southern Powers

Nawra Mehrin • 13 December 2018
Official content

The following article draws from previous and ongoing work conducted by the author that led to the recent book publication titled China and India’s Development Cooperation in Africa: The Rise of Southern Powers. It specifically draws from chapter two of the book, titled ‘Conceptual Framework and the Importance of Consistent Definitions’. Given the interchangeable manner in which terms such as South-South Cooperation, development cooperation, or foreign aid are used, it is important that contemporary scholars and practitioners in the international development landscape add greater clarity to these terms and concepts.

Given this context, the paper argues that there should be no confusion on why South-South Cooperation as a concept covers the myriad flows amongst countries of the global South. At the time when it was conceptualised as a term, flows amongst countries in the global South were very few, and often had to be mediated by the Northern countries and institutions.  However, with South-South flows having rapidly grown in the past few decades, it now becomes more important to distinguish between the various components of South-South Cooperation, especially development cooperation, where confusion persists. What is important leading up to BAPA+40 is to clearly distinguish between South-South Cooperation as a broader concept and development cooperation from Southern powers so that they are not used interchangeably, whether explicitly or implicitly.

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