Havana locals are hopeful the Group of 77 (G77) plus China Summit will be a driving force in closer cooperation between developing countries.
“Developing countries need to develop, combat poverty and deal with other issues that affect them,” architect Eddy Regueiro told CGTN in the lead-up to the event, which was held on Friday and Saturday in the Cuban capital.
“l hope the summit will focus on the ways to achieve sustainable development using science and technology to look for more innovative ways for developing countries to develop,” said Sociology student Samantha Ross.
Their expectations echoed the Havana declaration approved on Saturday, which stressed the role of science and technology and called for an open, fair, inclusive and non-discriminatory environment for scientific and technological development.
Composed of 134 developing countries, the G77 wrapped up the summit in Havana on September 16, declaring the date as the Science, Technology, and Innovation Day in the Global South.
Bridging digital divide
During the summit, Li Xi, the special representative of Chinese President Xi Jinping, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, called for all countries to equally benefit from digital dividends, and said that no developing country should be left behind or left out in the development of new technologies and industries.
Addressing the 17th Group of 20 Summit in Indonesia’s Bali in November 2022, President Xi Jinping said it is important to bridge the digital divide, saying countries should jointly promote connectivity in the digital age, and take effective measures to promote digital literacy and skills for all.
It is particularly important to help developing countries and disadvantaged groups to adapt to digital transformation and strive to close the digital divide, said the Chinese president.
To bridge digital divide, China established the Digital Silk Road cooperation mechanism with 17 countries and advanced Silk Road E-commerce bilateral cooperation mechanism with 29 countries, Chen Chunjiang, assistant minister of commerce, said in March.
Speaking at the summit, African Union chair and Comorian President Azali Assoumani lauded China’s efforts in promoting global economic development with digital cooperation, saying that digital cooperation is an important part of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Promoting South-South cooperation
Li Xi also stressed that South-South cooperation is always a high priority in China’s cooperation with other countries.
“China is the largest developing country in the world. No matter what stage of development it reaches, China will always be part of the developing world and a member of the Global South,” he said.
At the BRICS-Africa Outreach and BRICS Plus Dialogue in Johannesburg in August, President Xi Jinping announced that China had set up a Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund with a total funding of $4 billion, and Chinese financial institutions would soon set up a special fund of $10 billion dedicated to the implementation of the Global Development Initiative (GDI).
Djibouti Prime Minister Abdoulkader Kamil Mohamed said South-South cooperation is an important way to promote solidarity, also hailing the GDI as it has achieved many successful cooperation cases in the Global South during the summit.
“When brothers are of the same mind, they can cut through metal with combined strength,” Li Xi quoted a Chinese saying, urging G77 members and China to promote cooperation in areas of food security, poverty alleviation, industrialization, green development, digital technology and artificial intelligence.
Global governance reform
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday urged G77 members and China to champion a multilateral system rooted in equality, delivering for all humanity and not only for the privileged.
Science, technology and innovation can promote solidarity and solve common problems, however, today “they frequently inflame inequalities and entrench divisions,” Guterres noted.
Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday issued a proposal on reform and development of global governance, outlining China’s stance and proposition on key areas of global governance.
Regarding scientific development, China stressed that scientific and technological advances should benefit all humanity, not becoming means of restricting and containing other countries’ development.
The proposal highlighted that developing countries should fully enjoy the right to peaceful uses of science and technology to facilitate the realization of sustainable development goals, and effectively respond to security risks posed by scientific and technological development.
China will enhance international exchange and cooperation in science and technology with a more open mind and actions, work with other countries to foster an open, fair, equitable and non-discriminatory environment for the development of science and technology, and promote mutual and shared benefits, it added.
(Cover: A billboard reading “Cuba, from its presidency of the G77+China, has committed itself to move forward the common interests of the South and the cooperation,” in Havana, Cuba, September 12, 2023. /CFP)