The BRICS and Africa's search for green growth, clean energy and sustainable development

Neil Renwick, Jing Gu, Lan Xue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)
770 Downloads (Pure)


Renewable energy
Green economy
Sustainable development
1. Introduction
The BRICS economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) generated almost 23 percent of the world's GDP in 2015 and contributed over half of global economic growth since the group began its dia- logue in 2006 (BRICS, 2017). Given this growing importance, this pa- per addresses the question ‘How are the BRICS countries contributing to Sub-Saharan Africa's aims to increase its clean energy, extend access to energy, and create ‘green’ economies through renewable energy?’ This article explains and evaluates the role of the BRICS countries in Africa's search for clean energy, sustainable development and green growth and transformation. This study focuses on the contribution of the BRICS as a collective grouping and on its individual members to Africa's sustain- able development through renewable energy technology transfers. It ex- plains and evaluates the BRICS approach to sustainable development, the work the group is developing on renewable energy technology and transfer cooperation inside the BRICS and, at the level of the individual members, outside the BRICS to the economies often referred to as the ‘Global South’.
The BRICS group of countries is widely held to offer the prospect of a new approach to sustainable development,
renewable energy and green economic growth in Africa. This paper examines the BRICS’ approach to renew- able energy cooperation. It argues that, following a robust declaratory intent, implementation has taken time to achieve but there are signs of this coming on-stream. The New Development Bank can provide an effective inter- vention mechanism for the BRICS in Africa. New BRICS’ policy initiatives suggest a more accelerated approach on renewable energy investment and technological cooperation. However, for the foreseeable future, individual members will be the drivers of the transfer process, particularly China and India. In terms of policy, the BRICS need to elaborate a speci c strategy for renewable energy cooperation for both intra-BRICS and extra-BRICS de- velopment. Policies should also prioritise their pro-poor rationale and intent to widen energy access, achieve energy equity and overcome energy poverty. China and India have a significant existing and growing capacity to help move this forward.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-683
Number of pages9
JournalEnergy Policy
Early online date19 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Energy Policy. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Energy Policy, [120, (2018)] DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2018.05.028

© 2018, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


  • Renewable energy
  • Green Growth
  • Africa
  • Sustainable Development


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