Time to narrow North-South gap

PRESIDENT Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan on Thursday issued a vital call regarding the North-South divide, asking fellow leaders to narrow the gap.

Speaking in Johannesburg during the BRICS summit that brought together several leaders, the Head of State called for concrete action to address the widening global North-South gap for the objective of creating a just international economic order.

The North–South divide or Global North and Global South is a socio-economic and political division of the earth popularised in the late 20th century and early 21st century.

Generally, definitions of the Global North include the United States, Canada, almost all the European countries, Israel, Cyprus, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, and New Zealand. The Global South is made up of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Pacific Islands, and the developing countries in Asia, including the Middle East.

The North is mostly correlated with the Western world, while the South largely corresponds with the developing countries (previously called Third World) and Eastern world.

The two groups are often defined in terms of their differing levels of wealth, economic development, income inequality, democracy and political and economic freedom, as defined by freedom indices.

President Samia took the right direction by urging fellow world leaders to deepen strategic partnerships in financial, trade, investment and economic areas. She issued the appeal at a time that the world faces serious global challenges, so the international community has to be united, not fragmented.

They should be willing to take collective measures in addressing issues of global concern such as poverty, climate change, health, food insecurity, conflicts and others. Global leaders have to find a way to address deeply-rooted and self-reinforcing structural problems, including international financial architecture that inhibits developing states from accessing long-term and affordable financing for development.

States that are generally seen as part of the Global North tend to be wealthier, less unequal and considered more democratic and to be developed countries who export technologically advanced manufactured products.

Southern states are generally poorer developing countries with younger, more fragile democracies heavily dependent on primary sector exports and frequently share a history of past colonialism by Northern states.

Nevertheless, the divide between the North and the South is often challenged and said to be increasingly incompatible with reality. In economic terms, as of the early 21st century, the North—with one quarter of the world population—controls four-fifths of the income earned anywhere in the world. 90 per cent of the manufacturing industries are owned by and located in the North.

It is gratifying however to note that the challenges facing the BRICS

offer a possibility of coming up with a more equitable, balanced and fair mechanism

with an international economic order that has far remained unattainable and elusive aspiration.

BRICS African partnership needs to focus on unlocking potential opportunities on the continent towards realisation of both Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals

(SDGs) which include the operationalisation of African Free Trade Area (AfTA).

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