Convergence* or what has been referred to lately as “The “C” word”, has not taken place despite many scholars’ anticipation. The Trickle-down economics proved to be –but a compelling narrative to back-up the modernization thesis and to legitimize the liberal neo-imperial agendas of the developed west.
It seems that it takes more than time to catch up— leadership and cooperation are key elements to attain the desirable outcomes of convergence. The coordination failure, the history dependency along with the aspiration gap have kept the African continent far behind lagging with the lack of the necessary institutional framework, unable to deliver growth while struggling with growing demand for economic reform.
The South-South cooperation model is an interesting initiative in process, to establish an economic development model that follows an unusual pattern of investment projects amongst third world countries and especially in the African continent, pursuing the goals outlined by the United Nations.
King Mohammed VI of Morocco, called for the establishment of a space where the South-South Cooperation is efficient and multidimensional, based on the efficient allocation of the resources of the African countries. He also insisted that this cooperation is not a political privilege or luxury but rather a necessity for African countries to overcome the challenges of the globalized world.
The South-South development cooperation aims to work along the convergence plans through putting together a model that provides the necessary precursors of growth, with an emphasis on political stability. The model emphasizes the importance of expanding of the diplomatic circles -to diversify the economic partners. King Mohammed VI has called for stronger ties with the Indian sub-continent in the 3rd edition of the India-Africa summit in New Delhi.
South-South development is indeed directed to respond to the continuously increasing aggregate demand in the African continent, with an emphasis on the upgrading of the economic sectors through installing a comprehensive infrastructure, while keeping sustainability and peace as primary goals.
As foreign aid proves inefficient in the region, as Dambisa Moyo points out in her book “Dead Aid”, this initiative is an attempt to put forward a model that accounts for the specific context of the continent, and adopts a flow of policy that allows for economic growth and diversified economies. The collaboration is planned to occur at several sectors, including but not restricted to mining, transportation, housing and human resources.
This development strategy has also included debt forgiveness for the struggling countries, as well as creation of opportunities for students and professionals for an easier integration in the Moroccan education system. Morocco has lately made a step further in officially regularizing the immigration status of the undocumented Sub-Saharan Africans in the country.
In the midst of a rising xenophobic sentiment in the west, the south-south development strategy -with the Moroccan leadership, seems like a great attempt to reduce the reliance on western markets, and have a look inwards to respond to the specificities of the modern African society. Similarly, it plays an important role in strengthening the ties between the African capitals, and contributes to the endeavors of restoration of stability.
*Convergence -also known as the catch up effect, and it is the narrative that expects continuous decreasing disparities between developing countries and developed ones, based on the trend of poor countries in growing faster than rich ones when it comes to per capita income, and hence the speculation of a catch-up effect.