Uganda assumes Group of 77 and China chairmanship

President of Uganda and Chairman of the Group of 77 and China gestures ahead of the opening session of the 3rd South Summit in Kampala on January 21, 2024. PHOTO/HANDOUT 

What you need to know:

  • G-77+ China started as a group of 77 developing countries.

Uganda has assumed chairmanship of the Group of 77 + China from Cuba, which held the mantle for the past one year.

G-77+ China started as a group of 77 developing countries that came together and signed a joint declaration of the first session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva in 1964, with a main aim of promoting economic cooperation among its member states and to collectively address issues related to development, trade, and international financial institutions.

These, who have since grown to 134 members, have from 1994 received both political and financial support from China- who does not consider herself a Group member.

During the official start of the 3rd South Summit in Kampala on Sunday, Uganda’s President Museveni rallied global countries to embrace unity in order to solve the ongoing global crises.

“We should ensure that we collectively promote and protect human rights and development and the issues of human rights should be handled objectively and not politicized,” Museveni told delegates in his inaugural remarks as the Group’s new leader.

“People are also living under foreign occupation, and we call for the international community to provide assistance and enable developing countries to address their challenges politically and financially,” he added.

International financial institutions, he said, should provide financial assistance to developing countries, without putting stringent conditions, if the latter are to also develop.

Speaking at the event, the Secretary General of the United Nations António Guterres advised global south countries to demand their rights and negotiate their clear position from the rich global north countries.

“Financial institutions and frameworks created after the Second World War still largely correspond to the power relations and the global economy of that time. They must be reformed so that they are truly universal; reflect the realities of today; and are much more responsive to the needs of developing countries,” he said.

Further, he said: “Multilateral development banks must be adequately capitalized, and must change their business models to leverage far more private finance for developing countries at reasonable cost,”

According to the UN chief, many G-77 members are grappling with an economic hangover from the Covid-19 pandemic, crippling debts, a cost-of-living crisis and sky-high borrowing costs.

“Climate disasters many of you did little to create are knocking chunks out of your economies and increasing people’s suffering.”

“Digital technologies have enormous potential for good – but they are also inflaming inequalities. The International Monetary Fund warns that artificial intelligence could make things even worse. And peace – the foundation of sustainable development – is breaking down amidst a climate of global impunity. Around the world – from Sudan, to Ukraine, the Middle East and beyond – wars are devastating lives, fuelling mass movements of people, disrupting global supply chains, and threatening to set entire regions alight,” he added.

‘Irreparable trauma and loss’

In his speech, the president of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Dennis Francis said that escalating geopolitical tensions, wars and conflicts have risen to the fore, shattering the lives of millions, and putting the safety and security of the entire planet at risk.

“At the forefront of these, is the harrowing humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip. Generations of families suffering irreparable trauma and loss; children undergoing amputations without anesthesia; entire neighbourhoods reduced to rubble in one fell swoop.  With half the population facing starvation and tens of thousands of dead in just over 100 days, the world is looking to the United Nations for answers,” he said.