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What is the Global South?
Anika Sharma

Dec 12, 2023

A brief overview of the term, it’s counterpart, the “Global North,” and its relationship to the United Nations.

The term "Global South" is complex and context-dependent. It commonly refers to countries in “Group of 77” at the United Nations, but this group now includes 134 countries, incorporating both developing nations and some wealthier ones like China and Gulf states.

The United Nations uses "Global South" as a shorthand for developing countries, although it officially designates specific jurisdictions as developing or developed. Some criteria for determining the Global South include colonization history and a per-capita GDP below $15,000.

The term "Global North" exists but is less commonly used, essentially referring to countries not in the Global South. The nuances of the term vary depending on the user and their criteria for classification.

Now, when it comes to the most prominent actors in the Global South, India, China and South Africa lead the way. There are numerous reasons as to why these specific countries are enabled to become leaders.

These countries' unique economic, social and political development have empowered them to become well-recognized leaders within the Global South. It is very possible for these countries to eventually become leaders on the international stage as well.

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