Digital Transformation

Research Paper 187, 4 December 2023

The Global Digital Compact: opportunities and challenges for developing countries in a fragmented digital space

By Carlos Correa, Danish, Vitor Ido, Jacquelene Mwangi and Daniel Uribe

The adoption of a Global Digital Compact (GDC) as one of the outcomes of the Summit of the Future opens up the opportunity to address in a systematic manner issues that are of critical importance for the digital global governance. It also poses a challenge to developing countries, as most of them lack the infrastructure and capabilities to fully participate in the digital transformation. Many inequalities, including a deep digital divide, do exist and would need to be addressed by the GDC for it to become a real instrument of change and improvement in the living conditions and the prospects of a better future for most of the world population. This paper examines the current fragmentation in the digital governance and some of the issues raised by the proposals made by the UN Secretary-General for adoption of the GDC.

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Policy Brief 122, 30 November 2023

Data Access and the EU Data Strategy: Implications for the Global South

By Marc Stuhldreier

This study explores the value of data in the digital economy and the challenges surrounding data ownership, access rights, and equitable distribution of the value. It examines the European Data Strategy and highlights its shortcomings as well as its implications for the Global South. This contribution emphasises the need for unlocking the potential of collected data by enhancing accessibility and challenging protectionist measures and discusses the importance of fair competition and innovation. It also discusses the importance of balancing access rights with legitimate privacy concerns, trade secrets, and intellectual property rights. The paper concludes by highlighting the importance for developing countries to introduce tailored regulations that suit their specific needs, empowering them to seize opportunities and navigate the digital economy effectively.

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Research Paper 185, 13 October 2023

Foreign Investment Flows in a Shifting Geoeconomic Landscape

By Danish

The economic shocks from the pandemic and rising geoeconomic tensions have triggered an accelerated restructuring of foreign investment flows in global value chains. As the previous determinants of foreign investment are rapidly changing, many new risks and opportunities abound for developing countries looking to attract FDI into their economies. This paper therefore looks at some of the important issues affecting foreign investment flows to developing countries both now and in the future. It then lays out some policy imperatives which can help countries ensure that the inbound foreign investment is responsible, sustainable and contributes to achieving the national development priorities.

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Research Paper 179, 14 July 2023

Reinvigorating the Non-Aligned Movement for the Post-COVID-19 Era

By Yuefen Li, Daniel Uribe and Danish

The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was born out of the need felt by newly emerging post-colonial nations not to be compelled to be part of any single political or military bloc during the Cold War. As the international community finds itself once again in the midst of heightened geo-political tensions, the principles of non-alignment have seen a resurgence in the Global South, providing NAM with the potential to become a major force in the configuration of a new international order.

Over six decades after its inception, the NAM stands at a crucial juncture, where consolidating non-alignment among developing countries can help build solidarity, promote collaboration and defend the interest of developing countries in the reconfiguration of global governance. Dealing with these challenges requires unprecedented levels of international cooperation, both North-South and South-South. As the grouping of non-aligned countries, the NAM could play an important role against global fragmentation, build solidarity, and strengthen multilateralism.

This paper therefore looks at the role and position of the NAM at this time, and how it can be reinvigorated to address the most critical challenges facing its Member States and other developing countries today. Considering the history, evolution and important achievements of the NAM, the paper provides some proposals that can support NAM Member States in their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and make progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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SC Statement to NAM Ministerial Meeting, 5-6 July 2023

South Centre Statement to the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Ministerial Meeting

July 5-6, 2023

Baku, Azerbaijan

The South Centre supports developing countries with policy-oriented research, advice on international negotiations and capacity building. Since its inception, the South Centre has maintained a close relationship with NAM. We are strong supporters of its principles, appreciate its achievements, and believe in the central role that NAM can play in reforming the multilateral system.  

The South Centre will continue to work with NAM and its member countries to support them in their efforts to shape a fairer multilateral system that is responsive to the needs of the Global South. 

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Reinvigorating NAM for the Post-COVID-19 Era, July 2023

Reinvigorating the Non-Aligned Movement for the Post-COVID-19 Era

By Yuefen Li, Daniel Uribe and Danish

The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was born out of the need felt by newly emerging post-colonial nations not to be compelled to be part of any single political or military bloc during the Cold War. As the international community finds itself once again in the midst of heightened geo-political tensions, the principles of non-alignment have seen a resurgence in the Global South, providing NAM with the potential to become a major force in the configuration of a new international order.

Over six decades after its inception, the NAM stands at a crucial juncture, where consolidating non-alignment among developing countries can help build solidarity, promote collaboration and defend the interest of developing countries in the reconfiguration of global governance. Dealing with these challenges requires unprecedented levels of international cooperation, both North-South and South-South. As the grouping of non-aligned countries, the NAM could play an important role against global fragmentation, build solidarity, and strengthen multilateralism.

This paper therefore looks at the role and position of the NAM at this time, and how it can be reinvigorated to address the most critical challenges facing its Member States and other developing countries today. Considering the history, evolution and important achievements of the NAM, the paper provides some proposals that can support NAM Member States in their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and make progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

This is an advance draft of the Research Paper.

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SC Contribution – Call for Inputs by UN SR on RtD, June 2023

Inputs – Special Rapporteur on the Right to Development

“Role of businesses in realising the right to development”

South Centre

June 2023

The Human Rights Council, in its resolution 33/14 of 29 September 2016, established the mandate of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to development. In 2023, the Special Rapporteur will present a report on “the role of business in realising the right to development in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other relevant international human rights instruments” to the United Nations General Assembly in October 2023.

With the objective of collecting information regarding the role of businesses in realising the right to development, Prof Surya Deva, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Development, made an open call for inputs from various stakeholders such as States, international organisations, national human rights institutions, civil society organisations, and others.

In line with its programme of work, the South Centre is keen to submit the following information to the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Development considering the need to achieve progress on the fulfilment of social rights, in particular the Right to Development (RtD) and its interface with issues such as climate change, corporate responsibility, food security and small farmers’ livelihood.

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SC Submission to the Global Digital Compact, April 2023

Submission to the Global Digital Compact

Apply Human Rights Online

 South Centre

 Geneva, April 2023

The South Centre’s Board approved in September 2022 its Programme of Work 2023-2025 where the policy dimensions of digital transformation are highlighted as one of the priority areas for developing countries, including the need to harness digital technologies in education, health and the production of goods and services, support the development of a domestic digital industry, improve their digital infrastructure, advance digital equity and inclusion, effectively tax the digital companies and contribute to shaping the digital governance architecture to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Following the call made in the Declaration on the Commemoration of the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the United Nations (A/RES/75/1) for improved digital cooperation, the United Nations (UN) Secretary General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation and his report ‘Our Common Future’, the South Centre submits the following written contribution to the UN Secretary General ahead to the Summit of the Future with the objective of providing support to developing countries in the intergovernmental process concerning the digital transformation.

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South Centre Annual Report 2022

South Centre Annual Report 2022

Read the South Centre Annual Report 2022 for an analysis of the situation faced by our members & other developing countries & for a summary of the Centre’s activities in 2022.

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SouthViews No. 215, 6 April 2021

Technology and inequality: can we decolonise the digital world?

By Padmashree Gehl Sampath

In this article, the author argues that techno-centric explanations of progress and industrialisation are deeply entrenched in a wider social context that encourages us to ignore the historical roots of current inequalities – which, in fact, are not amenable to a technological solution alone. Making the data economy work for all will require a serious reflection on how we want to frame this debate, and how to align ourselves to a common vision of social progress that technology could help to accomplish.

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SouthViews No. 206, 25 September 2020

Digital Transformation: Prioritizing Data Localization

By Bilal Zaka

After years of rather stable and predictable growth of telecommunications and software systems, the last decade has witnessed a tremendous shift towards unpredictable and disruptive innovations in every field of life. Today, we are experiencing the true social, political, financial and cultural effects of what is termed as globalization, deregulation, liberalization and convergence. Some major factors influencing this change are proliferation of mobile devices, ubiquitous wireless access to internet and increasing interventions of online or internet-driven technologies. While this digital transformation is inevitable, it is imperative that we equip ourselves to handle the negative implications of external influence caused by foreign dependencies and the non-regulatory nature of the new information ecosystem.

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