Advancing South-South Cooperation in Education and Skills Development: lessons from the field

02 Nov 2016
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Advancing South-South Cooperation in Education and Skills Development: lessons from the field - Recognizing the transformations in the world economy and the priorities of developing countries, education and skills development were placed at the core of the 2030 Development Agenda. In Africa, the African Union’s 'Agenda 2063, the Africa we want,' clearly articulates the need for an education and skills revolution. The importance of education and skills development is again expressed in the Common African Position on the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa. 

The experience of other countries from the South can help Africa, in particular Middle-Income Countries (MICs) and other countries transitioning to middle-income status, to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in education and skills development. Like these countries, Brazil and India are also striving to narrow the skills gap and enhance links among education and skills development, industries and labour markets. 

Building on their domestic experience, Brazil and India can offer locally relevant approaches to advancing education and skills development in the African continent. The study examines the enabling factors and lessons learned by Brazilian and Indian cooperation in Africa to implement the SDGs in education and skills development. 

By looking at two case studies, one focusing on Brazil’s engagement in Angola through the Cazenga Vocational Centre and the other considering India’s approach to education and skills development in Africa, the study argues that some of the main distinguishing features of SSC lie in the practices, processes and relations that are built during development partnerships. Horizontality and capacity development were found to be the main enablers of Brazilian and Indian cooperation in education and skills development in Africa. 

The experiences further offer innovative approaches to capacity development and some of the first examples of public-private partnerships in South-South cooperation. Looking ahead, the study highlights that the following additional enablers of Brazilian and Indian cooperation in education and skills development in Africa should be enhanced: national ownership, inclusive partnerships, and citizens’ protection and empowerment. The study further clarifies the need to explore complementarities between initiatives targeted at education and skills development as well as to establish national certification systems for deepening links with local industries and labour markets. 

Finally, the study stresses that the more South-South cooperation (SSC) experiences in different development sectors are systematized based on common frameworks of analysis, the more that societies and policymakers can learn from the different approaches and instruments used to scale up efforts and implement the SDGs. Southern-led policy coalitions like the BRICS (through the New Development Bank) and the African Union (AU) also have an important role to play in advancing the implementation of the SDGs, by creating specific knowledge exchange and financing mechanisms to address the intersectoral nature of the post-2030 sustainable development agenda. 

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