Viewpoint: The Future of International Development: South-South Cooperation
By Rara Reines
The majority of the world’s population lives in countries traditionally referred to as “developing,” and the current pace of global demographic change means that the future is becoming mainly a Southern and Eastern one. While the term “Global South” has largely replaced the term “developing,” perhaps a more fitting description would be “majority world.” There are dangers in lumping heterogeneous groups of people and countries together into inaccurate descriptors like “developing,” as both “developed” and “developing” regions of the world are characterised by the extremes of affluence and poverty.
The Western development system has largely been premised on the flow of knowledge and financing from the “Global North” to the “Global South” with the goal of assisting in driving economic development and poverty alleviation. Ironically, the expertise flowing from the “developed” world represents best practices from countries that have never been able to solve their own poverty. The global rate of change in economic multipolarisation and demographic growth is pointing to a future where development assistance is led by donors from the majority of the world meaning that the future of the international development industry is one of cooperation between countries of the “Global South” where terms are no longer dictated by Western powers.
Photo courtesy of Neil Palmer.