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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

Macroeconomic policy in times of slow growth and crisis
S. Seguino / Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies, South Africa 2016
South Africa faces a series of macroeconomic challenges in the coming months that will strain its ability to address its most pressing need – more jobs. The macroeconomic policy approach taken in the recent time period largely ad...
The development compact: a theoretical construct for South-South cooperation
S. Chaturvedi / Research and Information System for Developing Countries 2016
India’s development cooperation efforts began soon after the country gained its independence in 1947. Indeed there are some incidences that date back to even pre-independence days. India is strong believer of the fact tha...
Emergence of LoCs as a modality in India’s development cooperation: evolving policy context and new challenges
P. Saxena / Research and Information System for Developing Countries 2016
Development cooperation is an integral part of India’s foreign policy and India has been extending cooperation to its fellow developing countries even before its independence in 1947. In present times, India’s deve...
Economic repercussions of the Look East Policy in Zimbabwe
F. Tombindo; N. Tukić / Centre for Chinese Studies, University of Stellenbosch 2016
In 2003, Zimbabwe formally announced the Look East Policy (LEP) in the face of economic sanctions by the West. This, coupled with the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) of 2000, has strengthened trade and bilateral investments ...
Towards mutual learning with the rising powers
J. Constantine; G. Bloom; A. Shankland / Institute of Development Studies UK 2016
Rising powers such as Brazil, India and China have achieved major advances in supporting economic and social development in their less-developed regions and in creating health and social protection systems in response to the rapid cha...