By Dr. George Kararach
The purpose of this paper is to highlight the major capacity constraints and challenges facing Africa as it seeks to expand its trade opportunities as well as attract greater volumes of good quality investments (both local and foreign) within the context of South-South Cooperation (SSC) and related engagements. In addition, it puts forward a set of strategies and recommendations to address these challenges. We draw on significantly from earlier work (see Sako and Kararach, 2007) to highlight the obstacles to enhancing intra-Africa trade and investments and what roles and instruments from SSC can be brought to bear on these challenges and constraints. Capacity is understood as those capabilities by which individuals, organizations and states are able to deliver on their objectives and mandates. Capacity building would involve a process through which individuals and entities obtain, improve, and retain the skills, knowledge, tools, equipment, and other resources needed to deliver objectives and mandates competently. It allows individuals and organizations to perform with increased quality and scope.
The paper consists of six sections of which this is the first. Section 2 discusses the notion of South-South Cooperation (SSC) as a trade integration process. That definition acts as the analytical anchor in this paper. Section 3 outlines the capacity constraints, challenges and opportunities for SSC as from an African vantage point. Africa seems to have a mixed experience with SSC and the lessons that can be drawn from the relationships. This issue of experience and lessons of SSC for Africa is discussed in section 4. Section 5 adopts a strategic viewpoint to provide the strategies, instruments and the way forward for SSC. The conclusion is presented in section 6 – noting the huge opportunities presented by Africa’s engagement with SSC member countries.