Conference: Envisioning South-South relations and development: past, present and future
Organiser: City University of Hong-Kong, Department of Applied Social Studies
Date: 20 - 21 May 2014
"The conference’s purpose was to launch the “Bandung Journal of the Global South”, that will be published by Springer Open Journal. The Journal seeks to encompass three key topics of the current international system: the emergence of the Global South, the shifting relations within the Global South and the growing influence of China in the Global South.
The two-day conference presented a space for meeting and exchange between experts from both developing and industrialised countries, whose research focus on development in Asia, Africa and Latin.
I presented the paper “New donors, same old practices? South-South Cooperation in emerging countries” that is based on my current PhD research. The main question that this paper is trying to answer is why developing countries offer developing assistance (foreign aid) in a context in which they have countless domestic challenges to overcome. I argued that the motivations for new donors to offer developing assistance is to advance foreign policy interests, similar to traditional donors do, for instance, for strategic-military, political, economic-commercial, humanitarian or prestige reasons. However, I also contend that elements unique to emerging donors, such as, to achieve self-sufficiency, for self-reaffirmation, for regional integration, to reaffirm their sovereignty, to consolidate regional or international leadership, etc., play key role in the formulation of policies of new donors.
My presentation and the main arguments of my research had in general a good reception in the audience and I was strongly encouraged to continue my research on this topic, since there is a lack of academic literature on what emerging donors are doing. By the same token, I got some constructive comments to improve my work. For instance, I was advised to refine my hypothesis and perhaps be more explicit about the arguments that I am trying to defend. I was asked questions about the role of NGOs and other non-government actors in the aid policy-formulation in developing countries. Also, what are the main benefits that developing countries have received by implementing this kind of policies, for example, if Brazilian aid has had a positive effect on trade and investment.
Finally, I found that while it was a relatively small conference, it was a very good platform for the exchange of ideas and it was very interesting to learn about new avenues that scholar in developing countries are working on. This represented a great opportunity for young researchers, like myself, to test ideas and to practice not only presentation skills but also to receive constructive feedback from senior academics.
The papers presented in this conference will be published in the first edition of the Bandung Journal of the Global South that is scheduled for next September. At this stage, the papers are going through revisions and will be re-submitted to the editorial committee for final approval."