India hosted a special virtual Summit – “Voice of Global South Summit” under the theme “Unity of Voice, Unity of Purpose” on 12-13 January 2023. The Summit encompassed inaugural and concluding sessions at Head of State / Government level, and hosted by the Prime Minister, and 8 Ministerial sessions hosted by respective Cabinet Ministers of India.
Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles, Shri Piyush Goyal, hosted the Commerce and Trade Ministers’ Session, today, on the theme – ‘Developing Synergies in the South: Trade, Technology, Tourism, Resources’. Hon’ble Ministers from 13 countries, namely, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Haiti, Malaysia, Myanmar, South Sudan, Timor Leste, and Zimbabwe, participated in the Session.
Delivering his opening remarks, the Minister called upon countries of Global South to forge new partnerships and mechanisms so that the voice of the Global South is reflected on the decision-making table. The Minister said the objective of the Summit is to pay attention to the issues pertaining to the Global South and those issues before key global forums like G20, the UN and other multilateral settings. Touching upon the theme of the Session, Shri Goyal said these are the key pillars for development of the countries of the South.
Highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on global trade and particularly on developing countries, he stressed upon the need to work together to build resilient supply chains. He also emphasised upon the need for de-politicization of the global supply of essential medicines. He said, “At the WTO Ministerial Conference held in Geneva in June 2022, India, South Africa, and other developing countries worked together to obtain the TRIPS waiver decision providing equitable and affordable access to vaccines. We shall redouble our efforts at the WTO to get the TRIPS waiver extended to COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics.”
Shri Goyal highlighted that the countries of the Global South are now contributing more than half of the world’s economic growth with South-South trade touching $5.3 trillion in 2021. In this regard, he urged for enhanced trade linkages for the mutual benefit of all our countries.
Mentioning that India is providing unilateral duty-free market access to the least-developed countries (LDCs) since 2008 through the duty-free tariff preference (DFTP) scheme of India, he said that India is also open to enter into Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) with interested countries in the South.
Calling Connectivity as a defining factor for success in the developing world, Shri Goyal spoke of India’s National Logistic policy (NLP) and the PM-Gati Shakti as the steps in this direction. He said countries of the Global South can work together to exchange best practices in models of connectivity that we employ in our countries.
Shri Goyal said southern countries are also helping to drive world investment. Indian companies are also investing abroad in a big way, including in the Southern countries. Financial cooperation between developing countries is also enabling developing countries to engage more in the global policy debates and shape the international agenda.
Emphasising on the use of technology for development, Shri Goyal shared India’s experience that an inclusive digital architecture can bring about socio-economic transformation. He cited examples of UPI which has transformed India’s Digital Payment Landscape, CoWIN platform which played a key role in the success of India’s COVID-19 vaccination programme.
On tourism, Shri Goyal noted developing countries are now fast emerging from the impact of covid, and the tourism sector has picked up in the last one year. He called for working together with the countries of the Global south to promote tourism. Shri Goyal noted that many countries of the South have huge deposits of these resources and emphasised that we should work closely to use such resources for the benefit of the South.
Shri Goyal concluded by stating that India is ready to share its development experience with the global South, and are eager to learn from other fellow countries and bring forth the matters of our common concern for further discussion and cooperation towards our joint sustainable and inclusive growth.