With reference to frames as socially determined definitions of reality, this paper examines the discrepancies between the prominence of ‘South-South cooperation’ terminology in globally dominant discourses and its limited usage by African stakeholders. Based on insights from the United Nations, (cross-)regional collaboration formats and bilateral cooperation, we find that African officials employ ‘South-South’ terminology mainly when ‘Northern’ partners are present but use other frames when engaging with developing countries. This limited resonance poses a challenge to multilateral organisations and traditional donors in their attempts to expand engagement with ‘South-South’ relations. A focus on the usage and effects of frames, we argue, can clarify the assumptions based on which international cooperation unfolds.
- South-South cooperation
- United Nations