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Building blocks for equitable growth: lessons from the BRICS

The BRICS countries have been lauded for their economic growth and resilience through the 2008/09 financial crisis; they are becoming models of development for development practitioners, researchers and other emerging economies. But most of these countries have seen enormous increases in income inequality – specifically China, India and South Africa (Brazil has enjoyed a reduction.) What can be learnt, in terms of the challenges and successes of reconciling growth and equity, from the BRICS’ recent growth? This paper examines the experiences of four of the BRICS – Brazil, China, India and South Africa – and identifies four key factors shaping the countries’ pattern of growth: people having access to assets; investment in productive activities; social transfers; and a political economic context where inclusion is a priority.