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'Rising Powers' and Africa

Research Rising powers and Africa with The Open University

The Open University has a wide-ranging approach to international development, which focuses on science, technology, innovation and development; and institutional and human capabilities in development. One of the key areas we are researching is the so-called ‘Rising Powers’, particularly China and India. Since 1979, China has grown at an average rate of more than nine per cent per year. India has grown at a similar pace since the early 1990s. At the OU we ask: what impact will China and India have on the developing world in general, and on the nature and incidence of poverty in particular?

We have a growing number of research students examining different facets of this question. They are based in the Development Policy and Practice Group and undertake primary research in Africa and Asia. OU students are also part of vibrant international networks examining the 'Rising Powers' for international development and regularly attend conferences and workshops on this subject.

Qualifications available:

PhD or MPhil


For detailed information on current fees visit Fees and funding.

Entry requirements:

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent)

Potential research projects

  • The social and environmental impacts of large Chinese construction projects involving finance and/or companies from ‘Rising Powers’
  • The political implications of Chinese and wider ‘Rising Power’ engagement with Africa
  • The developmental impact of migration from, to and between ‘Rising Powers’
  • 'Rising Power' SMEs in the developing world
  • African responses to China and the ‘Rising Powers’ in general

Current/recent research projects

We have had a number of ESRC funded research projects, including:

  • Chinese national oil companies and the economic development of African oil producers (with colleagues at Dundee, Peking, CASS, and the African Centre for Energy Policy)
  • China as the new ‘shaper’ of global development (a collaboration with IDS at Sussex under the Rising Powers Programme)
  • The social and political impacts of South–South migration: a comparative analysis of Chinese migrant integration in West Africa
  • Politics of Chinese engagement with African ‘development’: case studies of Angola and Ghana (with colleagues at Durham)
  • China goes global: a comparative study of Chinese hydropower dams in Africa and Asia (a collaboration with SOAS under the Rising Powers Programme).

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research area please contact:

Dr Ben Lampert
+44 (0)1908 655434

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under 'Your Questions' on the right of the page.