Productive South Centre Board Meeting, held in Beijing

The South Centre held its 35th Board meeting in Beijing. Below is a brief description of the meeting as well as some highlights of events linked to the Board meeting.

By Yuefen Li

On 10-11 November 2015, the South Centre Board held its 35th meeting in Beijing, China, at the invitation of the Government of the People’s Republic of China. The meeting itself was hosted by the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA), an institute that was set up by Premier Zhou Enlai in 1949 to foster and promote better people-to-people dialogue and understanding between China and the rest of the world.

The Board at its 35th meeting discussed and made decisions on the activities and financing of the South Centre, and looked at the medium- and long-term prospects and institutional and global contexts for strengthening the work of the South Centre in promoting the interests of the developing countries in the global arena.

The highlight of the Board’s visit was a meeting with Chinese State Councillor Mr. Yang Jiechi, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on 10 November 2015.

The South Centre’s Chairman, Mr. Benjamin Mkapa, formerly the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, thanked State Councillor Yang for the warm welcome and the cooperation of China with the Centre.

Both  State Councillor Yang  and South Centre Board Chairman Benjamin Mkapa recalled the meeting between President Xi Jinping of China and Mr. Mkapa  in his capacity as Chairman of the South Centre when President Xi visited Tanzania in March 2013. Mr. Yang said that the meeting “gave a strong impetus to strengthening the cooperation between the South Centre and China.”

During the meeting, Mr. Yang stated that “the South Centre, as an important think-tank of developing countries, plays a significant role in boosting South-South cooperation and South-North cooperation. China values the great support the South Centre provides for the participation of developing nations in international development cooperation, and is ready to advance cooperation with the South Centre to maintain close communication and coordination on major issues concerning international development such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and help developing nations realize common development and prosperity.”

South Centre Chairman Mr. Mkapa mentioned how impressed he was with the new Chinese initiatives to promote South-South cooperation and said: “The South Centre is very happy with this because we were set up precisely to promote South-South cooperation. The South Centre is now the only international inter-governmental think tank and research centre set up by the leaders to serve all the developing countries.”

Mr. Mkapa added that “the South Centre is ready to constantly deepen South-South cooperation with China, contributing to the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

Another highlight was the Brainstorming Meeting on South-South Cooperation and China co-organized by the South Centre with the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs and the Institute of World Economics and Politics/Chinese Academy of Social Sciences  on 12 November 2015.  Senior Chinese experts elaborated the new Chinese initiatives on South-South cooperation and in creating new regional and international institutions and their potential impact in assisting developing countries in implementing the post-2015 development agenda.

South Centre Chairman Mr. Mkapa said that with its large and growing economy, China has a crucial role in the present and future development of the developing countries. He also praised the new Chinese South-South funds for climate change and for the development agenda, amounting to US$5.1 billion which President Xi announced at the United Nations’ SDG summit in September 2015.

The Chairman and Board Members also visited Chengdu as part of the Board’s programme in China, upon the invitation of CPIFA, and experienced the cultural and natural diversity of China as examples, in many ways, of the same kind of richness and diversity in terms of culture and nature that may also be found in other developing countries of the South.


Yuefen Li is the Special Advisor on Economics and Development Finance  of the South Centre.




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