The Brazilian Cooperation with Africa under President Lula: The invisible role of Brazilian Public Servants and its importance to the Brazilian Foreign Policy goals

The foreign policy of President Lula was marked by a sound increase in the relations with developing countries, particularly with African nations. During this period, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MRE) assumed that cooperation projects with African countries were guided by solidarity and altruism, an assumption that is now challenged by the article What is the relation between Brazilian Foreign Policy and the implementation of bilateral technical cooperation projects in African Countries? Lessons from a South-South cooperation project implemented by the Brazilian National School of Public Administration – ENAP (2009-2012) authored  by researchers from the University of Brasília (UnB) and Columbia University in the City of New York.

Published in the issue 1/2017 (Volume 60, N. 1) of the Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional (RBPI), Ana Flávia Barros-Platiau and Rafael Schleicher contend that the “solidarity” diplomacy was in fact a foreign policy strategy to differentiate the Brazilian relations with African countries from the Chinese and Indian interests in the continent. The Brazilian Foreign Policy for Africa promoted the idea that both the relations and the international cooperation projects were themselves incarnations of the Brazilian willingness to provide public goods for African nations, linking the well-being of African peoples to Brazil’s own fate in the world.

Notwithstanding the declared intentions of the Brazilian Foreign Policy in Africa, the implementation of many cooperation projects in African countries was far from being controlled by the Brazilian MRE. As a bilateral cooperation project between Brazil and Mozambique analyzed in the article demonstrates, when cooperation projects depend on human resources from the Brazilian Public Institutions for their implementation, the interests of such institutions redefine the projects and, to a certain extent, the relations with foreign countries.

Read the Article

Schleicher, Rafael Tavares, & Platiau, Ana Flávia. (2017). What is the relation between Brazilian Foreign Policy and the implementation of bilateral technical cooperation projects in African Countries? Lessons from a South-South cooperation project implemented by the Brazilian National School of Public Administration – ENAP (2009-2012). Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional60(1), e002. Epub February 06, 2017.https://dx.doi.org/10.1590/0034-7329201600110

Contact 

Rafael Schleicher – Columbia University – Departament of Political Science, New York, United States (rts2129@columbia.edu)

Ana Flávia Platiau – Universidade de Brasília, Instituto de Relações Internacionais, Brasília, Brazil (anabarros@unb.br)

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