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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IDS publications on international development research

Rising Powers in International Development: An Annotated Bibliography

This annotated bibliography is intended for a global audience of policy-makers, students, academics and researchers. It should enable quick and easy familiarisation with the major English-language literature on the Rising Powers’ impact on development, with links to websites and summaries for reference. More details

IDS publications on international development research

China's Impact on the Global Wind Power Industry

Journal of Current Chinese Affairs 1/2013 (2013)

China's economic rise has transformed the global economy in a number of manufacturing industries. This paper investigates whether China's transformative influence extends to the new green economy. More details

Non-IDS publication

Emerging and Submerging Powers: Imagined Geographies in the New Development Partnership at the Busan Fourth High Level Forum

The Journal of Development Studies 49.4 (2012)

The geopolitics of development is in a state of uncertainty and transition that the Busan High Level Forum both mirrored and contributed to. Busan established a new discourse of international development cooperation in which the old donor-recipient relationship is replaced by an equator-less landscape of a multi-stakeholder global partnership. More details

IDS publications on international development research

China's Impact on the Global Wind Power Industry

Discussion Paper 16/2012 (2012)

This paper investigates whether China’s transformative influence extends to the new green economy. Drawing on the debate about how China is driving major economic changes in the world – the ‘Asian drivers’ debate – it identifies five corridors of influence and investigates their relevance for the wind energy industries. More details

IDS publications on international development research

PEACH - Methodology

The purpose of this note to make some practical suggestions for carrying out the project Political Economy Analysis of Climate Change Policies - the PEACH project. The central question of the project is who drives/obstructs climate change policies in the rising powers. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Inter-Firm Linkages and Finance in Value Chains

IDB Working Paper 349 (2012)

This paper examines the impact of inter-firm linkages and specifically interactions with large firms on SMEs' access to finance. More details

IDS Working Paper

Competition and Cooperation between Europe and China in the Wind Power Sector

IDS Working Paper 377 (2011)

This paper uses a value chain lens to examine the prospects for competition and cooperation between Europe and China in the global wind power sector. More details

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing

Integrating Business and Development Impact

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing 19 (2011)

Businesses are increasingly setting up programmes to engage with international development. Development agencies are also seeking to mobilise businesses’ knowledge and resources to achieve development goals. More details

This is the image for 'Can China Grow Global Brands?'.

Can China Grow Global Brands?

IDS Research Summary (2011)

China is at the forefront of the huge shift in production capabilities from OECD nations to East Asian developing countries. More details

This is the image of China and the African Oil Sector: Channels of Engagement, Motives, Actors and Impacts.

China and the African Oil Sector: Channels of Engagement, Motives, Actors and Impacts

IDS Working Paper 374 (2011)

Recently China has experienced high economic growth and increased urbanisation. At the same time, it has become known as the ‘factory of the world’. More details

The Understanding and Practice of Development in China and the European Union front cover

The Understanding and Practice of Development in China and the European Union

IDS Working Paper 372 (2011)

The role of China in international development rose to prominence from around 2005 as it became clear that a new wave of Chinese actors was engaging in public and private activities in the global South. More details

IDS publications on international development research

China's Private Enterprises in Africa and the Implications for African Development

European Journal of Development Research, Special Issue on China, India and Africa 21.4 (2009)
IDS publications on international development research

Reducing Carbon Emissions: China's Position

Climate Lite (2009)

Action on climate change by developing countries like China requires international support at local and national levels, as well as larger and more predictable streams of funding. More details

IDS Research Summary

China: Its Impact on the Developing Asian Economies

IDS Research Summary of IDS Working Paper 295 (2009)

China's emergence offers improved growth prospects for Asia as a whole. However, some of the region's poorest countries risk getting left behind. This Research Summary shows how Working Paper 295 explores the economic links developing between China and its Asian neighbours and what can be done to exploit the opportunities and minimise the threats. More details

IDS publications on international development research

China - Growth Engine or Obstacle for Asian Developing Economies?

Zeitschrift fur Wirtschaftsgeographie 52.1 (2008)
IDS publications on international development research

Poor and Powerful - the Rise of China and India and its Implications for Europe

German Development Institute Discussion Paper 2008.13 (2008)
IDS publications on international development research

India, Brazil, South Africa and China: Is the South Big Enough?

11th Annual Conference on Global Economic Analysis (2008)