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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

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...
Russian BRICS Presidency: models of engagement with international institutions
M. Larionova / International Organisations Research Journal 2016
Six years after the first summit in 2009 in Yekaterinburg, the BRICS grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa has established its identity as an informal global governance forum. The members have consistently ...
Own ways of doing: national pride, power and China’s political calculus in Ethiopia
R. Dittgen; A.A. Demissie / South African Institute of International Affairs 2017
China’s evolving position as a key economic actor in Africa, a diplomatic heavyweight in local conflict resolution and a new entrant into peacekeeping, security co-operation and capacity building, illustrates significant ...
Trilateral cooperation in a changing international development landscape
Institute for Global Dialogue, South Africa 2016
This special edition of Global Dialogue, focused on trilateral cooperation in a changing global development landscape, forms part of a research project undertaken by the Institute for Global Dialogue (IGD), with the financial ...
Indian economy and demonetisation: way forward
S. Bhattacharjee / Research and Information System for Developing Countries 2017
The delegalisation of the two highest value currency notes announced by Indian government on November 8th 2016 has created an impact on the economy at a scale which no other piece of policy has rivalled for a long time. ...