Global South

News Excerpt:

The term Global South came into light by looking at the current conditions, stages of development, aspirations and interests in world order. Recently, the voice of Global South strengthened during the G20 summit held in India, where the African Union was included as a permanent member.

Evolution of the Global South:

  • The term Global South (GS) was possibly first used by Carl Oglesby in 1969 during the Vietnam War.
  • It gained a boost from the Willy Brandt (former German Chancellor) Report, “North-South: A Program for Survival” (1980), which highlighted the massive gap in standards of living between the North and the South.
    • He even drew a line on the world map separating the two. 
    • He argued for a much larger transfer of resources from the rich North (comprising mostly the United States, Europe and Japan) to the poor South. 
    • He also advocated for a reduction in protectionism in the North to help reduce this yawning gap.
  • The Global South term has evolved as a synonym for “developing countries” over the last 40 years.

About Global South (GS):

  • GS nations have varying circumstances, stages of development, aspirations and interests.
  • Presently, some 120-130 nations would be comfortable being considered part of GS.
  • China sees itself as “a leader of the GS”, but unlike India, it is widely viewed as an economic superpower, thoroughly enmeshed in the international trade and finance  frameworks largely crafted and nurtured by key members of the North after World War II.
  • Features of GS: 
    • They vary enormously with respect to income and population, both across continents and within them.
    • Asia has the largest population compared to Africa and Latin America. 
    • Four out of the five most populous nations of the world are in Asia, including the two giants, China and India.
  • Economic inequalities among GS nations:
    • In recent decades, Asian economies (especially in East Asia) have grown the fastest and are expected to do so in the foreseeable future, propelled by their two mega-regional free trade arrangements.
    • Leaving aside Venezuela, the other six Latin American countries are either upper-middle-income (as per current World Bank criteria) or, as in the case of Chile, high-income, with Argentina and Mexico bordering on high-income, and Brazil not far behind.
    • The African members of the GS are generally poorer, with seven of the 20 countries having a per capita income of less than $1,000 and only one, South Africa, enjoying a per capita income of more than $5,000. 
      • In contrast, seven of the 20 Asian countries have per capita incomes greater than $5,000, including two oil exporters, Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia. 
    • Three of the large African nations (Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan) are afflicted by long and bloody civil conflicts, which have seriously constrained their development trajectories. 
      • Civil conflicts gravely retard development in four Asian nations, too (Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Myanmar).

Influence of Global South on world affairs:

  • Over the last 70 years some significant gains have been made, through at least two different channels. 
    • The first is through building coalitions within key North-created international institutions, such as multilateral development banks, the IMF, GATT/WTO and United Nations specialised agencies. 
    • Second, through the creation of membership-limited organisations such as OPEC, ASEAN, Organization of American States, and the African Union
    • The first of these, OPEC, has been the most effective in advancing member interests since the 1970s, but at the expense of all oil-importing nations, including the vast majority of GS members. 
    • There is no GS-wide organisation with a strong secretariat, comparable to the OECD’s in the North.

India's role in Global south

  • South-South Cooperation: As a Global South leader, India can facilitate knowledge exchange, technical assistance, and capacity-building among developing nations.
  • Infrastructure Investment: Collaborating with platforms like BRICS, India can promote sustainable infrastructure projects to enhance economic growth and quality of life.
  • Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals: India’s pharmaceutical expertise can lead to affordable healthcare solutions through research, technology transfer, and disease management partnerships.
  • Renewable Energy: Sharing its renewable energy advancements can help address energy poverty and environmental concerns in developing nations.
  • Agricultural Innovation: Promoting sustainable farming techniques and knowledge exchange can improve livelihoods and reduce hunger.
  • Education and Skill Development: Education and skill enhancement initiatives can contribute to economic growth and poverty reduction.
  • Digital Connectivity: India’s tech sector can drive digital inclusion efforts to foster socio-economic development.
  • Disaster Management: Collaborative disaster preparedness strategies can mitigate the impact of natural disasters in vulnerable regions.
  • Cultural Diplomacy: India’s rich cultural heritage can facilitate cross-cultural understanding and international cooperation.
  • Advocacy and Policy Leadership: India can champion policies prioritizing social development, poverty reduction, and sustainable growth.

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