Article by:  Chukwuka Onyekwena, Executive Director of the Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa; and Mma Amara Ekeruche, Research Associate at the Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa

While cooperation between countries in the global South has existed since the 1955 Bandung Asian-African conference, South-South cooperation (SSC) has recently experienced rapid growth and rising global prominence. In 2013, the value of SSC across the world was estimated to exceed $20 billion, up from about  $16.1 billion in 2011. In 2016 alone, over 500 projects were ongoing under the SSC framework in over 120 countries. The growth of SSC is in the context of the economic expansion of countries in the global South such as China, alongside their rising influence in the international political system. As such, a new class of development cooperation actors have emerged as major providers of finance, technology, and knowledge. As aid critics point to the use of development assistance to promote the economic interests of developed countries and exert influence on the foreign policy of the recipient countries, assistance from developed countries has become increasingly viewed with skepticism. With solidarity, shared values, and common interest as its distinct elements, SSC is being presented as a suitable complement to the traditional model of development assistance.

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