"Anchor Countries" and “Asian Drivers of Global Change“

Within two research projects the DIE examines the changing role of economic powers as well as German and European negotiating strategies in regard to these countries. The project “anchor countries” is financed by the BMZ and examines the German development strategies with the group of 15 anchor countries. “Asian Drivers” is a joint programme with think tanks in China, India, and Europe and examines different effects of vibrant growth processes in the two named countries.

Project Lead:
Tilman Altenburg
Dirk Messner

Project description

Intensive discussions are held on whether and in what way Germany should continue to work on development cooperation with economically successful developing countries like China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. The DIE has triggered a discussion by introducing the anchor state concept in 2004, in order to place the debate on solid grounds so that a pro or contra for cooperation as well as the appropriate topics and formats could be assessed.

The main thesis states: Anchor states –the leading regional economic powers­ - are essential partners for solutions in global structural policy questions based on their economic weight, their political influence and their increasingly determination in participating in international processes. A continuing cooperation with these countries is of vital interest to Germany. This certainly should not imply collaborating with these countries through development cooperation permanently. In fact, the development cooperation with anchor states should develop to a strategic partnership with different cooperation instruments – development cooperation and other policy fields – should be joined and coordinated in a content oriented corridor.

How such a “new” cooperation with anchor states could look like is something that the DIE has been researching in a number of country studies and subject studies on behalf of the BMZ since 2005. In addition, cross-departmental workshops are being offered. The studies analyse the cooperation portfolio of the BMZ and other institutions in selected anchor countries (China, India, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa). Furthermore, detailed studies analyse the role of anchor countries in the global structural policy and thematic cross section analysis on effective comprehensive cross related subject forms of cooperation in the individual subject fields (e.g. environment, scientific-technical cooperation, triangle cooperation).

China und India: The Asian Drivers of Global Change

Because of the global impact China and India have within the group of anchor states, they play an exposed role. Therefore, the DIE conducts a specific research programme that focuses on the influence China and India have on international relations. The basic hypotheses of the research states that the “Asian Drivers of Global Change” are developing to important global governance players that strongly influence the basic pattern of world economy and international policy and therefore change the relationship between industrial and developing countries as well as within the group of developing countries.

The newly created power constellation is characterized by two important features:
1. China and India have moved up to the world economies and represent important global governance players with tectonic movement, i.e. their impact has significant and dramatic consequences. In the beginning of the 1990’s China’s percentage of the world demand on important basic metals rose from 5-7% to 20-25%. China owns the second largest monetary reserves worldwide from over 790bnUSD, is already the third largest trade nation of the word (export volume in 2004: 593bn USD; 1990 about 50bn USD) and belongs with the USA and the EU to the biggest C02 emitters. Furthermore, China distinctly voices its opinions in the WTO, the United Nations and in climate policy to shape global governance processes significantly. India is on a very similar path as China – with a time delay of about 10–15 years.

2. The advancement of India and China to relevant world economies and global governance players leads to changing the “quasi – a unilateral world order” into a de facto multi-polar power constellation. At the latest in 2025-2030 the USA, China and India constitute the essential power poles in global governance architecture. All European national states compared to the prospective great powers and their resulting competition for power and possibilities of shaping it are the central and influenced conflict basis in the global governance architecture in the next five decades. This is similar to the system’s conflicts during the cold war or the permanent conflicts between the European mid powers before World War I. The unilateral formed global governance architecture will only last a very short moment in history- the future will be determined by a “turbulent multilateralism”.

In order to reasonably understand the frames which trigger global change, three types of questions are addressed in the research programme:

First, the research question targets on adequately describing the role of both countries as global governance players and analysing them.
Second, the raised question gears towards if and how the dynamics of China and India will challenge the global governance arena with the existing research on the global governance debate.
Third, the project will deal with the question what influence the “Asian drivers” will have on future international development policy.

Co-operation Partner

Current Publications

SDG 2 (kein Hunger) in der Deutschen Nachhaltigkeitsstrategie: lassen wir die Hungernden zurück?

Holzapfel, Sarah / Michael Brüntrup
Analysen und Stellungnahmen 11/2017

The rise and demise of European budget support: political economy of collective European Union donor action

Koch, Svea / Stefan Leiderer / Nadia Molenaes / Jörg Faust
Externe Publikationen of 26 June 2017