Brazil in Africa07.05.2013 11:45
Seminar Deborah Brautigam24.05.2012 10:36
Cooperating with China in Africa24.05.2012 10:34
We are living through a major power shift: the making of a post western world. The days of western dominance on the global stage are gone. China, India and Brazil are on track to become the largest economies of the world.
Knowing emerging powers helps to understand the impact of the power shift on international development and aid. The western approaches to development and aid are challenged by the economic success of the emerging powers.
Prof. Robert Rotberg of Harvard University writes: “China’s current thrust into sub-Saharan Africa promises to do more for economic growth and poverty alleviation there than anything attempted by Western colonialism or the massive initiatives of the international lending agencies and other donors” (2008, p. viii).
Emerging powers are the most successful developing countries with large populations and fast growing economies. Although they have been successful in reducing poverty, a large proportion of the world’s poor still live in China and India. Economic growth has come with high social and environmental costs.
To sustain their economic growth the emerging powers have engaged with low income countries, mainly in Africa, through trade, investment and aid. Their economic engagement has been primarily driven by the need for energy, natural resources and export markets. It has led to a huge increase in South-South trade and more recently foreign direct investment. For example, in 2009 China has become the largest trading partner of Africa.
The emerging powers have not been much affected by the global financial crisis, when compared to the Western world. They have maintained high levels of economic growth and China in particular has abundant capital to invest domestically and in foreign countries. The global financial crisis has quickened the shift of economic power from the West to the emerging powers.
Emerging powers are the leading economies of the future, according to the famous 2003 Goldman Sachs BRIC’s prediction. They are therefore increasingly important in the management of globalization and international public goods, like climate, biodiversity and security. This is visible in international forums like the World Trade Organisation, the G20 and the UN climate change negotiations.
The emerging powers are in no way a coherent group of countries that act in a coordinated way. On the contrary, there are marked differences and tensions between China, India, Brazil and South Africa. They are grouped together because of their growing influence on world affairs and Africa in particular.