The potential of South-South cooperation with public and private institutional and business partners from developing countries has greatly increased as a result of the progress made in recent years by several emerging economies, especially in China and India, and the increased flows of trade, technology and investment between developing countries.
Early in 2006 UNIDO established a special unit to develop and coordinate South-South cooperation activities. The links between UNIDO’s activities in LDCs and the promotion of South-South cooperation were intensified. South-South cooperation was stimulated in various ways:
- Mapping the potential in more developed countries in the South for support to other developing countries, with emphasis on LDCs;
- Building partnerships among developing countries, particularly to strengthen production capacities in LDCs;
- Promoting regional trade and regional cooperation;
- Supporting institutional networking through centres of excellence in the South;
- Enhancing triangular cooperation between the North and the South.
A number of new UNIDO initiatives in this field are now under way or under consideration. The most significant one is the establishment of specialized centres for South-South cooperation. Focusing on areas in which the host country or specific institutions in that country have highly developed technological or industrial capabilities, these centres will provide technical support to firms or institutions in less advanced countries.
The first South-South industrial cooperation centre opened in India in January 2007. A similar centre is to be established in China. The aim of these centres will be to mobilize technical, financial and managerial resources to enhance production capacities, provide a platform for sharing development knowledge and solutions, promote regional trade and encourage the replication of best practices for poverty reduction. Negotiations are underway to establish a centre in Egypt, and further centres in Brazil and South Africa are envisioned for the future.