Skip to Content

UNU-WIDER China, India, Brazil and South Africa in the World Economy: Engines of Growth?

Support functions

A teenager wears torn rubber boots in a muddy local market in Bac Ha, Viet Nam. As of 2005 figures, half the world population—more than 3 billion people–is estimated to live on less than USD 2.50 a day. Bac Ha, Viet Nam. UN Photo/Kibae Park.

Table of contents

China, India, Brazil and South Africa in the World Economy: Engines of Growth?

This paper attempts to analyse the economic implications of the rise of China, India, Brazil and South Africa, for developing countries situated in the wider context of the world economy. It examines the possible impact of their rapid growth on industrialized countries and developing countries, which could be complementary or competitive and, on balance, positive or negative. In doing so, it considers the main channels of transmission, to focus on international trade, investment, finance and migration. The essential question is whether, in times to come, these four countries could be the new engines of growth for the world economy. The answer is that rapid growth in China already supports growth elsewhere, so far primarily as a market for exports, while India and Brazil have the potential to provide similar support, but South Africa does not yet exhibit such a potential. In future, these countries could also provide resources for investment and technologies for productivity. The transformation and catch-up could span half a century or longer. Even so, rapid growth in these large emerging economies is already beginning to change the balance of economic power in the world.
WIDER Discussion Paper
China, India, Brazil and South Africa in the World Economy: Engines of Growth?
Deepak Nayyar
Publication date:
June 2008
ISBN 13 Print:
ISBN 13 Web:
Copyright holder:
Copyright year:
China, India, Brazil, South Africa, growth, development, history, trade, investment, finance, migration
F02, F40, F50, N10, O10, O11, O19
Southern Engines of Global Growth
The governments of Denmark (Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Finland (Ministry for Foreign Affairs), Norway (Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Sweden (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency — Sida) and the United Kingdom (Department for International Development).
online and printed copies

^ Back to top