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Rising Powers such as Brazil, India, China, and South Africa, 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.

Some of the Rising Powers have developed innovative strategies which have achieved considerable social development gains in their home countries, leading researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers to analyse ways of learning from their experiences and applying these lessons elsewhere, particularly in Africa. In addition to exchanges supported by traditional bilateral and multilateral donors, these countries are increasingly active in sharing their experiences directly through ‘South-South Cooperation’.

This guide looks at research outputs in key thematic areas covering the role of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) and other ‘emerging’ or ‘Rising Powers’ in international development, and their impact on poverty reduction and social development in low-income countries.

Chinese engagement in African agriculture

A new Open Access Special Issue of World Development based on work on the changing role of China and Brazil in Africa’s agriculture is now available. The work was developed under the ‘China and Brazil in African Agriculture’ project of the Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC).

Ian Scoones, joint convenor of the FAC, has written two blog posts around the findings of the articles in the Special issue, arguing that Chinese engagement in Africa is actually not yet at the scale sometimes assumed.

Read his blogs: Chinese engagement in African agriculture is not what it seems and Are China and Brazil transforming African agriculture?


Rising Powers in International Development: an annotated bibliography
For a detailed overview of issues around rising powers, take a look at this bibliography which builds on the work of the ‘BRICS Initiative’, a horizon-scanning project supported by the UK's Institute of Development Studies' Tomorrow Today fund, and the DFID-funded Rising Powers in International Development (RPID) programme.

Latest Documents

Beyond Weber: conceptualizing an alternative ideal type of bureaucracy in developing contexts
Y.Y. Ang / Social Science Research Network 2017
The study of public administration in developing countries needs to look beyond the Weberian model as the only ideal-type of bureaucracy. When it is assumed that there exists only one gold standard of public administration, all other ...
South–South peacebuilding: lessons and insights from Turkey and South Africa’s support to fragile states
South African Institute of International Affairs 2017
Emerging actors, such as providers of South–South cooperation (SSC), are increasingly playing a role in peacebuilding, particularly in fragile states and conflict-affected areas. While there is much discussion on the role...
Economic integration and development partnerships: Southern perspectives
Research and Information System for Developing Countries 2017
As part of its work programme on capacity-building among developing countries on global and regional economic issues RIS has been conducting its flaghship Capacity-Building Programme on International Economic Issues and Develo...
The BRICS in an age of multipolarity: sustaining strategic partnerships under difficult economic conditions
P. Mthembu / Institute for Global Dialogue, South Africa 2017
Culminating in the formation of the New Development Bank (NDB), which was inaugurated at the Ufa Summit in 2015, the influence of the BRICS countries has now clearly gone beyond the economic arena, with the grouping evolving i...
Repositioning Chinese development finance in Latin America: opportunities for green finance
F. Yuan; K. P. Gallagher / Global Economic Governance Initiative, Boston University 2016
China is one of the largest creditors of Latin American and the Caribbean and has loaned the region more than $125 billion since 2005. However, the  composition of China’s financing in the region has been concentrate...