This week, the global population reaches 7 billion people. Most of this population growth is occurring in countries that are already facing rising poverty and hunger combined with the challenges of adapting to climate change and resource scarcity. But new actors in development could bring new voices, perspectives and possibilities to tackle these challenges. The rapid rise of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (the BRICS countries) as both growing economies and political players on the international stage will have significant implications for development.
BRICS and a new development model?
The BRICS countries have been engaged in official and non-official development cooperation for decades, but their role as development actors has only recently been acknowledged by the development community, traditionally mostly Western countries. These so-called 'Rising Powers', 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.
Speaking to Reuters news agency last week, Professor Lawrence Haddad explained how the rise of the BRICS is changing development: 'When you’ve got China, India and Brazil that are so big and are growing so fast, you’re going to get a major reorganisation, if not disruption, of the world economic order.'
Brazil and India currently have a leading role in the development of affordable anti-retroviral treatment and medication, which will have a significant positive impact on improved health and life expectancy.
Professor Haddad explained how the world will go through a massive adjustment in the next 15 to 20 years, with China in particular needing to seize the opportunity to become a leader in the low-carbon economy.
The IDS BRICS Initiative aims to generate knowledge, approaches and partnerships that will enable IDS to build on its extensive research in and with the BRICS countries to promote a network of interdisciplinary learning and exchange among these new actors in development.