BRICS and Rising Powers

Globally and politically, the influence of the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – is rapidly increasing. These countries bring together five major emerging economies, comprising 43% of the world population, having 30% of the world GDP and 17% share in the world trade. They have been engaged in official and non-official development cooperation for decades, but their role as development actors has only recently been acknowledged by the development community.

Sven Torfinn / Panos. Food warehouse storage in Mali. BRICS image.

These rising powers, once predominantly regarded as aid recipient countries, are now becoming more active as donors in their own right, raising important issues for debates on the future of international development cooperation.

Centre for Rising Powers and Global Development

The Centre for Rising Powers and Global Development (CRPD) draws together work from across IDS and the University of Sussex campus and works with partners across the world.

CRPD is at the forefront of research and practical analysis that helps connect governments, donors, civil society, and academia to explore new way to address global development challenges, with a particular focus on the BRICS and other increasingly influential middle-income countries.

The centre builds on earlier IDS work on the BRICS and other rising powers, including:

  • The Rising Powers in International Development (RPID) Programme – one of IDS' flagship programmes, launched in 2012 to understand the role of the BRICS and other regional powers in international development.
  • The Rising Powers and International Development Eldis Resource Guide - launched under the RPID programme, this guide contains 1,300 free resources and grey literature on the topic, drawing on the work of a number of organisations based in the BRICS countries and beyond.
  • The IDS BRICS Initiative marked the launch of a partnership between IDS and academics, research institutes and civil society in the BRICS countries to establish a conceptual framework and common methodology to study the emergence of the BRICS.
  • Brazil and China in Africa – the Future Agricultures Consortium is examining how the rising powers are changing agricultural development in Africa, and the Globalisation team are exploring China's approach to governance, development and state-building in Africa's fragile states.
  • Building Russia's capacity as a donor – IDS is providing teaching and training courses on development aid to Russian academic institutions.
Photo of Alex Shankland, IDS Research Fellow More details

Photo of Anuradha Joshi, IDS researcher More details

Photo of Deepta Chopra, IDS Governance and Gender / Sexuality Research Fellow More details

Photo of Gerry Bloom, Research Fellow of the Knowledge Technology and Society team More details

Photo of Hayley MacGregor More details

Photo of Hubert Schmitz from Green Transformations Cluster More details

Photo of Jennifer Constantine More details

Photo of Jeremy Allouche, IDS research fellow More details

Photo of Jing Gu More details

Lidia Cabral photo More details

Photo of Lizbeth Navas-Aleman More details

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Rômulo Paes de Sousa, Director of the World Centre for Sustainable Development, the Rio+ Centre and Senior International Associate with the IDS Rising Powers in International Development programme More details

Photo of Rosalind Eyben More details

IDS staff or research student More details

Photo of Sohela Nazneen More details

Professor Xuilan Zhang, Senior International Associate with the Rising Powers in International Development programme and Director, Institute of Social Development and Public Policy, Beijing Normal University. More details

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Strengthening the Capacity of the International Poverty Reduction Center in China for South-South Cooperation

This project, funded by the Chinese Government's Ministry Of Commerce, is aimed at addressing how IDA is given to developing countries (particularly Africa) and if there are ways of improving China's development assistance to create opportunities for independent development. More details

Who Drives Climate Policies in the Rising Powers?

This project is concerned with the political economy analysis of climate change policies. The central question of the project is who drives/obstructs climate change policies in the rising powers, paying special attention to renewable energy policies. More details

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Non-IDS publication

From Policy Transfer to Mutual Learning? Political Recognition, Power and Process in the Emerging Landscape of International Development Cooperation

Revista Novos Estudos 107 36.1 (2017)

This paper explores the implications of this for international policy diffusion in the age of "universal" development envisaged by the UN's Agenda 2030. More details

ER218_FrontCover

China–UK–Africa Trilateral Cooperation on Trade and Investment: Prospects and Challenges for Partnership for Africa’s Development

IDS Evidence Report 218 (2017)

This study was conducted in the context of the China–UK Cooperation on African Trade and Investment for Poverty Reduction. It focuses on the evolution of bilateral relations between China and the UK towards trilateral relations with Africa and on building a framework for future cooperation. More details

PB127_FrontCover

Strengthening International Disaster Risk Reduction through Collaboration with China

IDS Policy Briefing 127 (2016)

Natural disasters hit developing countries particularly hard. Worldwide, the incidence and intensity of such disasters remain substantial. More details

The BRICS in International Development book cover from Palgrave Macmillan website (http://www.palgrave.com/de/book/9781137556455)

The BRICS in International Development

This book offers a comprehensive comparative perspective on the increasingly significant development cooperation activities of the BRICS. Providing a powerful set of insights into the drivers for engagement within each country, it brings together leading experts from Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa and OECD countries. More details

IDS Policy Briefing 123 Front Cover

Towards Mutual Learning with the Rising Powers

IDS Policy Briefing 123 (2016)

Mutual learning is emerging as a new way of talking about the ‘how’ of development cooperation, particularly in contexts of rapid change, with countries increasingly recognising that they have much to learn from each other’s experience. More details

Front cover of IDS Evidence Report 202

Building Mutual Learning between the Rising Powers

IDS Evidence Report 202 (2016)

This Evidence Report provides a summary account of the Mutual Learning research initiative at the Institute of Development Studies, carried out from 2012 to 2014 as part of the Rising Powers in International Development programme. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Brazil’s Tropical Solutions for Africa: Tractors, Matracas and the Politics of ‘Appropriate Technology

The European Journal of Development Research 28.3 (2016)

This article focusses on mechanical farming technology sponsored by Brazil's South-South cooperation in Africa. Tractors and matracas are taken as symbols of different agricultural development pathways promoted by Brazilian players. More details

PB121_FrontCover

Can China’s Bold New Plans Make the Difference in Pakistan?

IDS Policy Briefing 121 (2016)

Ever since the 1955 Bandung Conference of Afro-Asian states, China has been active in civil engineering projects around the world, especially in Africa, as a sign of its commitment to the world emerging from colonialism. More details

ER196_FrontCover

A New Era for China’s Renewable Energy Development? External Shocks, Internal Struggles and Policy Changes

IDS Evidence Report 196 (2016)

As the world’s largest greenhouse gas (GHG) polluter, China’s annual emissions accounted for almost 30 per cent of the world’s total emissions in 2014 – more than the United States (15 per cent) and the European Union (10 per cent) combined. More details

ER193_FrontCover

Centre for Rising Powers and Global Development: Training Course on International Development and Global Health Strategy

IDS Evidence Report 193 (2016)

The Centre for Rising Powers and Global Development delivers intensive training courses for government officials and development professionals to explore the theories, policies and practices of international development cooperation, particularly relating to the growing role of the rising powers in global development. More details

PB119_FrontCover

Understanding the BRICS Evolving Influence and Role in Global Governance and Development

IDS Policy Briefing 119 (2016)

The BRICS Summit process was inaugurated in 2009 as a signal that the global governance system of the future would need to be constituted to reflect a politically diverse, multipolar world. At this same moment, the crisis-driven creation of the G20 Leaders forum put the evolution of such a new global governance system on fast forward. More details

PB115_FrontCover

Rising Powers, Lowering Emissions?

IDS Policy Briefing 115 (2016)

The importance of ensuring that African countries can meet their rising energy needs in a low-carbon way that also benefits the poor, is widely accepted. The so-called ‘rising powers’, such as China, Brazil and India are already investing in energy infrastructure in Africa. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Brazil’s Agricultural Politics in Africa: More Food International and the Disputed Meanings of ‘family farming'.

World Development 81 (2016)

Brazil's influence in agricultural development in Africa has become noticeable in recent years. South–South cooperation is one of the instruments for engagement, and affinities between Brazil and African countries are invoked to justify the transfer of technology and public policies. More details

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A New Politics of Development Cooperation? Chinese and Brazilian Engagements in African Agriculture

World Development 81 (2016)

The paper asks if a new paradigm for development cooperation is emerging, and argues that we must move beyond the simplistic narratives of either 'South–South' collaboration or “neo-imperial” expansion of “rising powers” to look at the dynamic and contested politics of engagement, as new forms of capital and technology enter African contexts. More details

ER189_FrontCover

The BRICS in International Development: The New Landscape

IDS Evidence Report 189 (2016)

This Evidence Report provides a summary account of the role of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in shaping the current global development landscape. More details

PB113_FrontCover

What Can the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Learn from Other Development Banks?

IDS Policy Briefing 113 (2016)

Global development has reached a critical turning point. In addition to achieving middle-income status, several recipient countries are now also becoming donors and lenders to other developing countries. China in particular has rapidly expanded its development finance programme and launched new multilateral initiatives. More details

ER187_FrontCover

China as a Development Actor in Southeast Asia

IDS Evidence Report 187 (2016)

This Evidence Report identifies and explains the central factors driving China’s policies towards Southeast Asia. It examines China’s foreign relations through the perspective of foreign policy. In this context, as the title indicates, the report gathers together and evaluates the evidence on China’s role as a development actor in this neighbouring region. More details

ER184_FrontCover

Report of a High-level Roundtable on Rising Powers and Global Development, and Launch of the Centre for Rising Powers and Global Development

IDS Evidence Report 184 (2016)

This high-level roundtable meeting, held on 22 April 2015, was co-hosted by the Institute of Development Studies, the Development Research Center of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, and the China International Development Research Network. More details

ER180_FrontCover

Who Drives Climate-relevant Policies in the Rising Powers?

IDS Evidence Report 180 (2016)

The future of human life on our planet is influenced increasingly by what goes on in the rising powers. This report presents a political economy analysis of their policies, comparing China, India, Brazil and South Africa. More details

ER179_FrontCover

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: What Can It Learn From, and Perhaps Teach To, the Multilateral Development Banks?

IDS Evidence Report 179 (2016)

A striking phenomenon of recent global economic change is the emergence of new development actors, with alternative development experiences and development financing capacity. These actors are now creating collective institutional capacity with the aim of contributing to other countries’ development. They are also increasingly influencing the path of global development. More details

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Africa's engagement with China and the G20

30 Jun 2017
By Emilie Wilson

Trump, Xi and a post-Western World

14 Mar 2017
By Tamahi Kato, Emilie Wilson

The BRICS role in today’s multipolar world

22 Dec 2016
By Richard Carey

The G20 and Africa: China’s turn

02 Sep 2016
By Maddalena Procopio
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