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Jing Gu - Research Fellow, Centre Director

Business, Markets and the State; Green Transformations
T: +44 (0)1273 915692


Erin Lewis

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Dr Jing Gu is the Director of the Centre for Rising Powers and Global Development at the Institute of Development Studies. She has an interdisciplinary background in law, economics and international development and has extensive experience in the field of governance, business and development.

As Centre Director, Jing Gu not only provides academic, policy and administrative leadership but also carries out academic research, training and consultancy on business, governance and development for the UNDP, UNCTAD, World Bank, African Development Bank, IPRC, MOFCOM, DFID, GTZ and NGOs such as the China-Africa Business Council.

She has led many interdisciplinary research projects involving multi-country teams, including the ground breaking pioneering research on China’s outward investment in Africa which involved field research in 12 African countries and 9 Chinese provinces from 2007-2012. Her innovative research work has provided important new insights into the complex reality of state and business motivational and operational practices, challenging orthodox conventional wisdom.

She has published widely on China and emerging powers, China’s international development role and China-Africa relations. Recent publications include 'China and Emerging Economies in Development', in Paul Haslam et al. (eds) Introduction to International Development: Approaches, Actors and Issues (forthcoming, Oxford University Press); ‘International Development Law and Sustainable Development’ in Oxford Bibliographies: International Law (Oxford University Press, 2015); 'Is China's Role in African Fragile States Exploitative or Developmental? (IDS Policy Brief 91, 2015); ‘China's New Silk Road to Development Cooperation: Opportunities and Challenges' (United Nations University Press, 2015); 'The BRICS in International Development: The State of the Debate' (Forthcoming, Palgrave); and ‘Chinese State Capitalism? Rethinking the Role of the State and Business in Chinese Development Cooperation in Africa’ (Open Access Special Issue Vol 81, World Development, 2016).

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.

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The next World Social Science Report due to be published in 2016 will focus on the critical contemporary issues of inequalities and justice.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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The purpose of this project is to explain and evaluate China’s approach and contribution to governance, development and state-building in Africa's 'fragile states.'

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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.

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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.

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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


State–Business Relations Beyond Growth: Bringing in Development

IDS Evidence Report 215 (2016)

The signatories of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have called on a wide range of businesses ‘to apply their creativity and innovation’ to address sustainable development challenges. Yet the role of business in contributing to development depends profoundly on its interaction with the state. This paper asks how states and businesses interact in different contexts to shape development outcomes. More details

The BRICS in International Development book cover from Palgrave Macmillan website (

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


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


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

Africa: China's ambitious test ground

21 Jun 2017
By Jing Gu

Thematic Expertise:
Aid; BRICS and Rising Powers; Capacity Development; Governance.

Related Programmes and Centres:
Business and Development Centre; Centre for Rising Powers and Global Development; Rising Powers in International Development.

Geographic Expertise:
Sub Saharan Africa; China.