September 12 was declared as the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation to recognize the economic, social and political improvements realized by regions and countries in the south and the highpoint of the UN's efforts to work on technical cooperation among developing countries. It commemorates the date when the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted, in 1978, the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries.
Cooperation between regions and countries of the South has chalked up tremendous achievements in enhancing the living conditions of their people through technological advancement and continuous collaboration between the nations of the South.
According to the United Nations (U.N), in many developing countries incomes are shooting up, poverty is declining and hope is rising. The goal of reducing extreme poverty by half has been achieved. Equity in primary education - attendance by girls and boys - has been reached.
Infant mortality has seen tremendous decreases, with five of nine developing regions reducing the under-five mortality rate by half. More than 2 billion people have gained access to clean drinking water.
However in the midst of these realizations, millions of other people are enduring very difficult living conditions in developing countries particularly in Africa. It is estimated that 1.2 billion people, around the world, are still trapped in conditions of extreme poverty.
Developing countries, in their quest to address pressing development challenges, have been sharing experiences on groundbreaking strategies and schemes. In this endeavor the Brazilian Bolsa Familia Programme, a cash transfer model, has helped improve childhood nutrition and education in Brazil, and the system has been successfully implemented in some parts of Africa.
In the same vein, China's emphasis on infrastructure development in other developing countries has resulted in improvements in electricity supply, an increase in railway connections and reduced prices for telecommunications services. There is no gainsaying that collaboration among the countries of the South has remarkable advantages and if sufficiently braced it could help to curb urgent common concerns such as hunger and diseases; and promote education and sustainable energy.
African countries, while cooperating with other South partners to overcome development challenges, have the responsibility to unite their countries to ensure a borderless continent where the citizenry will have the opportunity to move freely and settle without any hindrance. African countries must put their resources together, find concrete solutions to their common development challenges and collectively defend and protect the interests of their people; and speak with one voice on global issues.
Long live South-South Cooperation!
Peter Kwasi Kodjie
Secretary General-All Africa Students Union (AASU)