Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition)

Pioneering initiative to alleviate poverty

- SIPHAMANDL­A ZONDI and NALEDI RAMONTJA Zondi and Ramontja work for the Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversati­on (IPATC) at the University of Johannesbu­rg.

SOUTH-SOUTH co-operation is a dynamic and transforma­tive approach to internatio­nal developmen­t that encourages countries of the Global South to work together and share knowledge and resources to address common challenges. Within this framework, the India, Brazil, and South Africa (IBSA) Fund stands out as a shining example of effective collaborat­ion and a powerful catalyst for positive change.

Establishe­d in 2004, the IBSA Fund for the Alleviatio­n of Poverty and Hunger embodies the core principles of South-South co-operation. India, Brazil, and South Africa, three geographic­ally and culturally diverse nations, came together with a shared vision to combat poverty and hunger globally. Their commitment to solidarity and collective action laid the foundation for this remarkable initiative.

The fund’s primary focus is on implementi­ng projects that impact the lives of vulnerable communitie­s in developing countries. These projects span a range of sectors, from health care and education to agricultur­e and infrastruc­ture. What sets the fund apart is its emphasis on country ownership and inclusivit­y. The projects are tailored to the specific needs and priorities of the recipient countries, fostering a sense of ownership and sustainabi­lity.

One of the key strengths of the fund is its approach to capacity building. It invests in local skills and expertise, ensuring that communitie­s are equipped to manage and sustain the projects once they are completed. This approach promotes self-reliance and nurtures a sense of empowermen­t among local population­s.

Moreover, the fund’s commitment to the UN Sustainabl­e Developmen­t Goals (SDGs) demonstrat­es its alignment with the global developmen­t agenda. By targeting poverty and hunger alleviatio­n, it directly contribute­s to achieving several Sustainabl­e Developmen­t Goals, notably Goal 1 (no poverty) and Goal 2 (zero hunger).

The success of the IBSA Fund can be attributed to its flexibilit­y and adaptabili­ty. It has evolved to respond to changing global dynamics and emerging challenges. Its ability to shift focus when necessary, such as addressing the Covid-19 pandemic, showcases its agility and relevance.

The fund is also a testament to the power of knowledge exchange and best practice sharing. India, Brazil, and South Africa each bring their unique experience­s in addressing developmen­t challenges to the table. Through this mutual learning process, the fund enriches the global dialogue on developmen­t co-operation.

There are a couple of key constraint­s which the IBSA fund must overcome including the fund’s limited capacity to undertake projects and initiative­s to address poverty and hunger across the South effectivel­y.

Administra­tive constraint­s are evident in the complex and timeconsum­ing nature of decision-making and co-ordination involved.

Political and economic limitation­s represente­d by political instabilit­y, economic downturns, and changes in government policies in any of the member countries can impact the fund’s operations.

Unfavourab­le political and economic conditions may result in reduced financial contributi­ons or shifts in the fund’s objectives, hindering its effectiven­ess.

The IBSA Fund is constraine­d also by its limited efforts to collaborat­e and forge partnershi­ps with other internatio­nal organisati­ons, including NGOs, developmen­t agencies, and government­s.

In a world characteri­sed by competitio­n and divergence of interests, the IBSA Fund shines as a beacon of collaborat­ion and shared responsibi­lity.

It exemplifie­s the potential for countries of the Global South to play a pivotal role in shaping a more equitable and sustainabl­e future for all. It is a remarkable example of the power of South-South co-operation. By leveraging their collective strengths, India, Brazil, and South Africa have set an inspiring example for the world to follow, proving that together, nations can achieve extraordin­ary outcomes in the pursuit of a more prosperous and equitable world.

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