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Brazil–Africa technical co-operation: structure, achievements and challenges

Increasingly, Brazil is regarded both within and outside of Africa as a reliable development partner. The policy brief offers an overview of Brazil’s technical co-operation with Africa, analysing the way it is structured, its major achievements so far and the challenges it faces at present. Such challenges include signs of institutional overstretch and contradictions. The sustainability of Brazil’s current pace of engagement depends on its capacity to adjust its structures and to ensure coherence between its normative rhetoric and the practices of its agents on the continent.

Administering technical assistance – the main manifestation of Brazil–Africa co-operation – is undertaken by the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (Agência Brasileira de Cooperação or, the ABC), and the author makes the following recommendations:

  • by extending its outreach far beyond its capacity, the ABC has proved that it has a critical role to play in Brazil’s foreign policy. As such, Brasilia would benefit from a stronger ABC with more autonomy, its own staff and a budget more in line with the size of Brazil’s economy

  • for internal legitimisation purposes, Brazil’s technical assistance would benefit from greater information dissemination and from consultations with
    civil society. Promoting the participation of domestic
    NGOs in its projects abroad would foster mutual trust and bring about useful synergies

  • installing a monitoring and-evaluation mechanism to assess the impact of Brazil’s technical co-operation impact would not only foster meaningful efficiency gains but would also reinforce its credibility abroad