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The Global South's Emergence as an International Leader

The Global South has the potential to emerge as an International Leader in the future. This article explores the Global South's path to becoming a prominent world leader.

The Global South is commonly defined as countries in the “Group of 77” at the United Nations, but this group now includes 134 developing countries. I believe that global south states such as India and Africa have the power to emerge as international leaders in the future, thus challenging the bilateral international system. 


In the past decade Global South regions, such as India and African states, have developed their domestic economies and technologies, empowering them to emerge as new leaders on the international stage.


For example, India’s economy has been advancing rapidly, with its GDP per capita increasing from $1,350,600 in 2010 to $2,388,600 in 2022. Additionally, according to Goldman Sachs, India is set to become the world’s 2nd largest economy, surpassing the U.S. and Russia by 2075.


Not only has India’s economy flourished, but other sectors such as the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) have made notable achievements. Just recently, in August of 2023, India’s Chandrayaan-3 landed on the south pole of the Moon, marking India as the first country to achieve the feat.


This achievement was just days after Russia failed in its mission to land on the south pole of the moon. This has proven that India is on its way to becoming an international leader in space exploration. 


Africa as a continent has also advanced its infrastructure and technology in recent years. Urbanization, specifically, is transforming the African continent. In 1950, around 13.5% of the population was urbanized. In 2015, almost half the continent was urbanized.


Urbanization is rapidly growing in Africa, enabling Africans to have access to city benefits, such as higher wages. It is estimated that 70% of Africa's population will be urban by 2070.


Additionally, specific nation-states such as South Africa and Nigeria have proven to be strong leaders in the technology industry. Startups are most prevalent, within Africa, in South Africa and Nigeria. Moreover, South Africa possesses the strongest startup environment within Africa, with 505,000 new businesses registered in 2022.

It is evident that growth in the startup industry and urbanization in Africa has set the continent on a path to becoming a strong region in the future. 


Some may argue that current major economic actors, such as the United States and Russia, will remain prominent leaders in the future as well. The U.S. remains the largest economy in the world. And though Russia has a relatively small economy (in fact, it’s smaller than Texas in terms of GDP), its influence on the global oil and agrarian markets make it a pivotal actor. The Global South is often neglected.

The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine is a prime example of the current bilateral international system. Supposedly, there are only two sides to this international conflict, spearheaded by two major powers: Russia on one side and NATO, led by the U.S., supporting Ukraine on the other.


However, as mentioned previously, recent domestic advancements in India and Africa have enabled them to become empowered to represent the Global South internationally, thus challenging the current bilateral system. India and many African states have challenged this by remaining neutral in the Ukraine-Russia conflict and not aligning with the U.S. or Russia. India and African states have prioritized their strong trade and political relations with Russia and the U.S. Additionally, Indian and African leaders have spoken out about the hypocrisy of the U.S. and other Western powers, as they have also historically colonized smaller nations and committed mass atrocities. This view which is shared by many actors in the Global South is able to be voiced on the international stage by foundationally strong regions, India and Africa.


It seems that if India, Africa and other Global South regions and states continue on the trajectory of economic and technological advancement, the Global South will emerge as a strong and key actor on the international stage in the near future. 

In essence, domestic advancements have led the Global South to build a strong domestic foundation, prompting them to establish themselves as international leaders. If the Global South continues on this path of economic and technological advancement, it will emerge as a key actor on the international stage in the near future and challenge the bilateral international system.


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author(s).

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