Developing a methodology on pathways to economic development through South-South Trade, Investment and Knowledge Exchange

This project examined the rationale for promoting South-South trade and investment linkages based on the International Trade Centre (ITC)’s experiences with South-South trade and investment programmes. The project drew lessons for south-south cooperation towards creating employment and income opportunities in the Global South through the promotion of trade and investment partnerships, generated knowledge transfer and exchange, and set the ground for sustainable economic development.

ITC’s South-South Trade and Investment programme builds on the transformative change that South-South partnerships can bring about, key among those being transfer and exchange of appropriate knowledge and facilitated innovation.

Examining the role of partnerships and knowledge exchange, this project’s focus was on ITC’s first large-scale initiative under the South-South trade and investment programme-SITA (Supporting Indian Trade and Investment for Africa) – a South-South project seeking to accelerate South-South trade and investment linkages between India and East African partner countries. We also examined lessons from other key initiatives that include Partnership for Investment and Growth in Africa (PIGA) and the Trade Promotion between China and other Developing Countries along the Belt and Road Initiative.

The following key questions were explored:

  • What is the rationale for South-South cooperation on Trade, Investment and Knowledge Exchange?
  • What best practice is there for South-South cooperation projects, embedded within triangular cooperation?
  • Based on ITC’s experience, how can these projects be designed more effectively?

Insights were provided from a structured review of the emergent literature and evidence, semi-structured interviews with ITC staff and two targeted case studies to understand best practice, failures and successes, to motivate an emerging rationale and methodology on South-South Trade, Investment and Knowledge Exchange.

Some project outputs to highlight include:

Chili cultivation in Rwanda through knowledge transfers and investment from India (Photo: ITC, Geneva)


Recent work

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Specialist short course

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