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South-South Cooperation is a term historically used by policymakers and academics to describe the exchange of resources, technology, and knowledge between developing countries, also known as countries of the global South.



In 1978, the United Nations established the Unit for South-South Cooperation to promote South-South trade and collaboration within its agencies.[1].

However, the idea of South-South Cooperation only started to influence the field of development in the late 1990s [2]. Due to the geographical spectrum, the cooperation is now well known as South America-Africa (ASA) cooperation.

The ASA cooperation has so far held two summits. The first summit was held in Abuja Nigeria in 2006 where 53 delegates from Africa and 12 from South America attended. The second and most recent one was held on the Margarita Island in Venezuela in Sept 2009 where 49 heads of states from Africa and 12 heads of states from South America attended.[3][4]

South-South Cooperation has been successful in decreasing dependence on the aid programs of developed countries and in creating a shift in the international balance of power.[5]


The Leaders of South America and Africa continents hope that this cooperation will bring a new world order and counter the existing Western dominance Socially, Economically and Politically. President Hugo Chavez sees the formation of this cooperation as the "beginning of the salvation of [the] people."[6] and that it is a major anti-imperialism movement. Like President Hugo Chavez, the Libyan president Moamar Gaddafi is very critical of the Western dominance of the "third world" nations.

Economical alliance

One of the key goals of the cooperation is to strengthen and imporove economical ties. Some of the areas which these "southern" nations look forward to improving further include join investment, common bank and in energy and oil. Among other regional trade agreements [7] which were reached during the 2009 summit were Venezuela signing an oil agreement with South Africa and Siera Leone to form a joint mining company.

The two continents have over one quarter of world's energy resources. This includes the oil and natural gas reserves in Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Algeria, Angola, Libya, Nigeria, Chad, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.[8]

Security alliance

Peace and security responsibilities are also on the top of agenda of the cooperation. During the 2009 summit, Col Gaddafi proposed a defence alliance between the two continents. He calls the alliance "a Nato of the South." [9] This type of alliance aims to act as an alternative to the Security Council which none of its permanent members is from the two continents.

Political unity

Another area that some of the leaders intend to see big developments is in the political arena. This is to say that the cooperation will give the continents more political power when it comes to 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.

Challenges and Critique

Regardless a continuing interest of many states of the Africa and South America, the cooperation is still faced with capital challenges. One example of the challenges is a lack of a big enough capital to start a "South-South bank" (as an alternative to the IMF and the World Bank).

The most apparent critique is that there are just a few voices still heard. These voices are often from the comparatively rich and powerful states of the south (e.g. Brazil, South Africa and Venezuela).


See also

External links

Development Challenges, South-South Solutions


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