Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today highlighted the importance of continuous South-South cooperation during a forum in Beijing, China, adding that strong ties between developing countries are essential for global economic growth.
"South-South cooperation is expanding steadily," Mr. Ban said in his remarks to the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. "North-South cooperation commitments must be met to advance development. South-South cooperation is an increasingly important complement to this."
The UN chief emphasized that South-South cooperation was especially relevant given the current economic climate, as the global economic slowdown and the European sovereign debt crisis are impacting traditional donor support in many countries.
According to the Forum's website, the event is a platform for collective dialogue and an effective mechanism for enhancing practical cooperation between China and African countries, and helps sets a "successful" example of South-South cooperation.
"China and African countries see their future well-being as closely linked with integration in the global economy and marketplace. Today this relationship of equality and mutual benefit is scaling new heights," Mr. Ban said.
He added, "China has cancelled significant amounts of African debt. Much of its development assistance goes to Africa. And China continues to provide much-needed financing to meet the very large demands for capital investment, especially for infrastructure. Africa, for its part, is investing in China, on a smaller scale. This deepening partnership is bringing gains to both sides."
Mr. Ban noted three areas in which the Forum could build on the progress achieved so far, which consists of increasing efforts to reduce poverty, strengthening African capacities in terms of education, technology and innovation, and building green economies to ensure development goes hand in hand with environmental protection.
"Africans are determined to sustain a decade of impressive economic growth and make a decisive break from conflicts and coups. China is determined to build on its remarkable gains," Mr. Ban said, adding that the UN is strongly committed to supporting the cooperation between China and African countries.