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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

South African and the DRC: evaluating a South–South partnership for peace, governance and development
N.A. Besharati; C. Rawhani / South African Institute of International Affairs 2016
The ‘Rise of the South’* and the role of ‘emerging powers’ in global development has animated much of the political and economic discourse of the past decade. There is, however, little empirical evidence on the con...
South-South cooperation: conference proceedings 2016
Research and Information System for Developing Countries 2016
Emerging economies such as India have their own philosophy underlying development cooperation. The norms and mechanisms of such cooperation are different from OECD norms or norms followed by international financial institutions. ...
Tanzania-China all-weather friendship from socialism to globalization: a case of relative decline
J.-P. Cabestan; J.-R. Chaponnière / Centre for Chinese Studies, University of Stellenbosch 2016
How close is the Tanzanian-Chinese partnership today? Bi-lateral trade and Chinese economic activity in Tanzania today is far more significant than in the 1970s; China’s “no strings attached” policy is still attractive ...
The BRICS on the road to COP 21
BRICS Policy Center / Centro de Estudos e Pesquisas BRICS 2015
The impact of the actions of the countries that constitute the BRICS goes beyond the scope of the economic sector, reaching, among others, the socio-environmental agenda through issues such as the exploitation of natural resou...
The contribution of low-carbon cities to South Africa's greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals: briefing on urban energy use and greenhouse gas emissions
P. Wolpe; Y. Reddy / Stockholm Environment Institute 2015
South Africa is ranked among the world’s top 12 largest carbon dioxide (CO2) emitters, largely due to dependence on plentiful coal for electricity generation and an energy-intensive industrial and mining sector. Under the Copenha...