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China in Africa: The Real Story

South South Cooperation at the UN

Deborah Brautigam

On Thursday and Friday last week I attended the UN's Development Cooperation Forum, a biennial meeting held by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and focused on foreign aid and development cooperation. This year emphasized development cooperation partners from the South. A very interesting tension is developing at the institutional level. The rules for foreign aid and development cooperation have largely been set by the north (ever since the early demise of plans for the SUNFED in the 1950s). The OECD's Development Assistance Committee is the main locus of this rule-setting. The rise of China, India, and others -- few of whom are OECD members -- has some countries talking about the UNDCF taking on more of a rule-negotiation role. Like the WTO, which sets rules for trade, the UNDCF is a forum with more potential to be global than an organization within the OECD. To see my short introductory comments and other presentations at the UNDCF, click here.