Voices of the Global South Need to Be Heard

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted a two-day virtual “Voices of the Global South” summit Jan. 12-13, attended by 10 heads of state and government and 120 ministers and high-ranking officials from developing nations, to discuss the priorities that India intends to address during its presidency of the G20. The unmistakable message was that the old order is fading away and developing nations must play a vital role in shaping the new order that has already begun to emerge.

External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar explained to participants that the summit had been organized as a platform in which developing nations can express their concerns and priorities. “We see clearly that the key concerns of the developing world are not being captured in its [the G20’s] debates and discussions…. The search for solutions does not give due weight to the needs and aspirations of the Global South. We therefore wanted to ensure that India’s G20 presidency gathers that voice, the perspectives, the priorities of the Global South and articulates that clearly in its debates.”

PM Modi, in an undisguised reference to the British Empire, recalled that “in the last century, we supported each other in our fight against foreign rule. We can do it again in this century to create a new world order that will ensure the welfare of our citizens.”

China-Africa Cooperation on the Rise. His first trip abroad in 2023 took China’s new Foreign Minister Qin Gang to five African nations, from Jan. 10 to 16: Ethiopia, Gabon, Angola, Benin and Egypt. He also held meetings with the head of the African Union in Addis Ababa and with the head of the Arab League at their headquarters in Cairo.

A highlight of the trip was the ceremony inaugurating the newly completed African Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), built by the China Civil Engineering Construction Co., which will be wholly run and managed by the African Union (AU). Like the AU Conference Center, it is a landmark of China-Africa cooperation. In his remarks, Qin said that “today, our world, our times and history are changing in ways like never before. The collective rise of developing countries is irreversible.” China and Africa, he continued, should “oppose hegemony, bullying, highhandedness and racial discrimination, and jointly safeguard true multilateralism and promote greater democracy in international relations”.

Moreover, Qin Gang debunked the narrative that China has sunk African nations into a “debt trap,” noting that three-quarters of Africa’s debt is held by multilateral organizations.

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