South-South Cooperation at the time of COVID-19: Building Solidarity Among Developing Countries (UNCTAD, 2020)

August 5, 2020

This Trade and Development Report Update by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) discusses how developing countries can build solidarity to weather the interconnected economic and public health crises.

The report titled, ‘South-South Cooperation at the Time of COVID-19,’ highlights “North-South divergence” in combating the pandemic. UNCTAD points to developing countries as being more vulnerable, given significant differences in underlying economic conditions such as higher levels of informality, the lack of diversity in the formal economy, and the heavy reliance on external markets and sources of finance. As such, the report highlights that developing country economies are expected to take more time to recover than those of developed country peers.

The report argues that “international responses have been inadequate for recovery of the South,” and makes the case for bolder action. Emphasizing that South-South cooperation and solidarity are essential for developing countries’ recovery, UNCTAD identifies three key areas for action: 1) scaling up South-South finance; 2) building South-South cooperation for trade and industrial recovery; and 3) strengthening regional integration and value chains.