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

Photo of Louise Oakley More details

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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Advisory Council and Network Development

The RPID Programme aims to provide high-level guidance on key debates in international development policy and on how IDS and its partner organisations can best influence these debates through research and other activittes. More details

Brazil and International Development Cooperation

Brazil is a founding member of the BRICS group, Latin America's largest economy and the world's sixth-largest economy. The Rising Powers in International Development (RPID) programme is looking at Brazil's growing role in the field of international development cooperation. More details

BRICS Economic Engagement Footprint Study

This project investigated the nature of economic relations between the BRICS and Africa, in order to quantify the development footprint, focusing on various elements such as trade, investment. finance, ODA and migration. The current phase aims to look at development finance and the role of BRICS development banks. More details

Business from the BRICS

The Rising Powers in International Development Programme is looking at the growing role of business from the BRICS countries in the field of international development cooperation. More details

Changing Knowledge Divide in the Global Economy

The question driving this project was how was the 'organisational decomposition of the innovation process' (ODIP) changing the global distribution of innovation activities. More details

China and Brazil in African Agriculture

The question of how Brazil, China and other 'rising powers' may change African agricultural development is critical and timely. More details

China and International Development Cooperation

China is now the African continent's biggest trading partner, and also involved in a wide range of development cooperation projects including in agriculture, health and social policy. The Rising Powers in International Development Programme is looking at the growing role of China in the field of international development cooperation. More details

China-UK Cooperation on African Trade and Investment for Poverty Reduction

This IDS led project aims to evaluate changing trade and investment relations between China, and also the UK, with Kenya and South Africa and the consequences of these changes. More details

Civil society and the BRICS

The Rising Powers in International Development Programme is looking at the growing role of civil society from the BRICS countries in the field of international development cooperation. More details

Development Studies Learning Partnership

The Development Studies Learning Partnership was created under the BRICS Initiative in 2011, and enables collaborative learning between traditional and emerging actors in development, be they academics, researchers, practitioners or policy-makers. More details

DFID Country Programme Evaluation - Evaluation of DFID China Programme

An evaluation of DFID's China Country Programme, assessing the country strategy, links to poverty outcomes and DFID's corporate objectives. More details

European Development Co-operation to 2020

Multi-institutional study of the challenges for European development cooperation in the period up to 2020. IDS research will focus on new actors in international development. More details

Future Agricultures Consortium

The DFID funded Future Agricultures Consortium is an Africa-based alliance of research organisations seeking to provide timely, high-quality and independent information and advice to improve agricultural policy and practice in Africa. More details

Future Health Systems Research Programme Consortium

Future Health Systems is a research consortium working to improve access, affordability and quality of health services for the poor. More details

Global Brands from China?

A comparative study of the acquisition of branding capabilities in domestic and global value chains. More details

Global Power Shift and Low Carbon Transformation

Two transformations are likely to dominate the first half of the twenty-first century. One is the shift in economic power from the West (North America and Western Europe) to the East (China and the East Asian production system). The second is the transition from a high to low carbon economy. More details

India and International Development Cooperation

Trade and investment linkages between India and the African continent have been growing rapidly, and recently, its role providing foreign assistance has become more prominent. The Rising Powers in International Development Programme is looking at the growing role of India in the field of international development cooperation. More details

Political Economy of Low Carbon Investment in China and India

This project investigates whether and how coalitions of public, private and civic actors influence low carbon investment. More details

Rising Powers Young Researchers Network (RP-YOUR)

Initially bringing together PhD students and early-career researchers exploring the role of rising powers in international development from across IDS and the University of Sussex, the Rising Powers-Young Researchers Network seeks to expand within Centre for Rising Powers and Global Development global networks. More details

Russia and International Development Cooperation

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia was redefined as an aid recipient, but in 2007, it officially signalled its intention to reverse this role. The Rising Powers in International Development Programme is looking at the growing role of Russia in the field of international development cooperation More details

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PB56 Front Cover

Brazil’s International Development Cooperation at a Crossroads

IDS Policy Briefing 56 (2014)

The IDS Rising Powers in International Development programme has launched a series of studies of key issues and debates on international development cooperation in BRICS countries, working with leading specialists from each country. This brief outlines the key findings of the ‘State of the Debate’ report on Brazil’s development cooperation policy. More details

PB55 Front Cover

The BRICS and the International Development System: Challenge and Convergence?

IDS Policy Briefing 55 (2014)

The sustained growth of rising powers, including the grouping known as the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) is reshaping global governance arrangements. Annual BRICS summits and inter-ministerial meetings seek to reform existing international financial and economic institutions and promote a multipolar system of global order. More details

ER 56 Front Cover

Who Shapes Climate Action in India? Insights from the Wind and Solar Energy Sectors

IDS Evidence Report 56 (2014)

Within this paper, we specifically take an actor-centred perspective – focusing on players not just within the government but also private sector and civil society – to better understand the influence of such actors in shaping climate change action within India. Through this analysis, we aim to explore the underlying domestic political economy as well as the international linkages shaping climate action. More details

This is the cover for IDS Evidence Report 50, 'Advisory Council Seminar 3, 20 March 2013: IDS Rising Powers in International Development Advisory Council Discussion'.

Advisory Council Seminar 3, 20 March 2013: IDS Rising Powers in International Development Advisory Council Discussion

IDS Evidence Report 50 (2014)

This document presents a summary of a discussion held on 20 March, 2013 between five members of the Advisory Council of the IDS Rising Powers in International Development (RPID) programme and three IDS RPID staff members. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Urban Growth in Emerging Economies: Lessons from the BRICS

Along with globalization, urban transitions have been central in the southward shift in economic power towards the newly emerging economies. As this book shows, however, these transitions have not been painless, and it is important for the rest of the urbanising world to learn from the mistakes. More details

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Does China's Economic Rise Help or Hinder the Development of its Neighbours?

IDS Evidence Report 45 (2013)

With its huge size, vast low-cost labour force, and deep industrial foundation, China has become a major producer of a wide range of manufactured goods. More details

The Economic Engagement Footprint of Rising Powers in Sub-Saharan Africa

The Economic Engagement Footprint of Rising Powers in sub-Saharan Africa: Trade, FDI and Aid Flows

IDS Evidence Report 43 (2013)

Estimates suggest that over the last decade both trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) from emerging economies to Africa ballooned. More details

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Learning Event on the Rising Powers for DFID Advisors, April-May 2012

IDS Evidence Report 40 (2013)

The Learning Event brought together colleagues from DFID, IDS, and the BRICS, and aimed to facilitate the sharing and learning of experiences in international development and policy More details

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Advisory Council Seminar IV, 2 July 2013: IDS Rising Powers in International Development Advisory Council Discussion

IDS Evidence Report 35 (2013)

This document presents a summary of a discussion held on 2 July 2013 between members of the Advisory Council of the IDS Rising Powers in International Development (RPID) programme and IDS RPID staff members. More details

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The BRICS Countries and the Changing Nature of the International Development Policy Landscape: IDS Rising Powers in International Development Advisory Council Discussion

IDS Evidence Report 34 (2013)

This document presents a summary of a discussion held on 4 December, 2012, between six members of the Advisory Council of the IDS Rising Powers in International Development (RPID) programme. More details

Image Teaser for ER32 Brazil Opinion Survey

Brazil Public Opinion Monitor: Baseline Survey Results

IDS Evidence Report 32 (2013)

These results aim to provide a baseline of opinions and perspectives on the economic and social development of Brazil, and on Brazil’s place in the wider world. More details

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Rising Powers in International Development: Building an Agenda for Collaboration

IDS Evidence Report 37 (2013)

In May 2012, the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) marked the launch of it's Rising Powers in International Development (RPID) programme with a workshop which brought together participants from potential partner institutions in the BRICS countries to discuss an agenda for future collaboration in research, teaching, and policy work. More details

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Indian Public Opinion Monitor: Baseline Survey Results

IDS Evidence Report 29 (2013)

The Indian Public Opinion Monitor (IPOM) is a longitudinal panel of opinion leaders from across India that aims to provide an ongoing monitor of opinions and perspectives on the economic and social development of India, and on India’s place in the wider world. More details

Image teaser for ER30

South Africa Public Opinion Monitor: Baseline Survey Results

IDS Evidence Report 30 (2013)

The South African Public Opinion Monitor (SAPOM) is a longitudinal panel of 2,526 opinion leaders from across South Africa that aims to provide an ongoing monitor of opinions and perspectives on the economic and social development of South Africa and its place in the wider world. More details

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What is the Economic Engagement Footprint of Rising Powers in Africa?

IDS Policy Briefing 41 (2013)

This Policy Briefing shows that economic engagement with countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is not that different to that of OECD countries. More details

Image teaser for Evidence Report 24

IDS South Africa Events: Report from the Series of Events held by IDS and Partners in Johannesburg Preceding the 5th BRICS Summit in March 2013

IDS Evidence Report 24 (2013)

This paper reports on a series of conferences, meetings and events held by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and its international partners in the build up to the 5th BRICS Summit in March 2013. More details

Image Teaser for Evidence Report 20

Senior Development Fellowship Report (Zhang Xiulan)

IDS Evidence Report 20 (2013)

This report outlines the experiences and achievements of each Professor Zhang Xiulan, Senior International Associate for the Rising Powers in International Development programme. More details

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Policy Network Agenda Johannesburg, 20 March 2013: IDS Rising Powers in International Development Advisory Council Discussion

IDS Evidence Report 11 (2013)

This document presents a summary of a discussion held on 20 March 2013 between five members of the Advisory Council of the IDS Rising Powers in International Development (RPID) programme and three IDS RPID staff members. More details

IDS Policy Briefing 36: 'Building Relationships in Development Cooperation: Traditional Donors and the Rising Powers'

Building Relationships in Development Cooperation: Traditional Donors and the Rising Powers

IDS Policy Briefing 36 (2013)

Staff working in development agencies from traditional donor countries in the North need to be aware of the ways in which their actions are understood by their counterparts in the rising powers. More details

This is the image for IDS Policy Briefing 34, 'Evaluating Social Protection Policies: Lessons from Brazil'.

Evaluating Social Protection Policies: Lessons from Brazil

IDS Policy Briefing 34 (2013)

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is considered a valuable mechanism for improving the quality of public policy and has become politically important for policymakers. More details