Research on how emerging economies affect the Global South has been flourishing in the past decade. It is now well established that the emerging economies affect the (rest of the) Global South through a variety of channels. However, we still only have scant knowledge of the local developmental effects of the changes we are witnessing. This article seeks to open this black box by scrutinising the effects of investments from the BRICS into the tourism two key areas of the Zambian economy, namely in a tourism town and in two mining areas. Recently investments from the BRICS have been heralded as a key driver of structural transformation in the (rest of the) Global South we argue that lack of linkages and spillovers from BRICS actors to the local economy leads instead to continued technological and economic dependence and consequent economic narrowing.