Brazil's South–South development cooperation: Principles and experiences of the domestic bureaucracy

Published date01 October 2019
AuthorDeborah BL Farias
Date01 October 2019
Brazil's SouthSouth development cooperation: Principles and
experiences of the domestic bureaucracy
Deborah BL Farias
University of New South Wales, School of
Social Sciences, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Deborah BL Farias, University of New South
Wales, School of Social Sciences, Sydney,
NSW, Australia.
How did Brazilian bureaucrats view President Lula's approach to the provision of
development assistance in the context of SouthSouth cooperation (SSC)? How did
they see their own bureaucracy's role, as a provider of such assistance? This paper
addresses these questions within the broad context of Brazil's development assis-
tance program. The analysis begins with an elaboration of the internal legal and polit-
ical structure supporting the country's provision of development assistance. Then, it
addresses the research questions by drawing on original material obtained from 54
interviews, conducted in Brasilia, with diplomats and public servants from 25 federal
ministries and institutions directly involved with implementing technical cooperation
agreements. Evidence leads to three main observations: (a) the bureaucracies' limited
autonomy visàvis the Presidency's command of the Brazilian development assis-
tance program; (b) great convergence in the worldviews and principled values upheld
by public servants and diplomats in regard to Brazilian foreign policy; and (c) the exis-
tence of interbureaucracy complaints and struggles related to the operational side of
agreement implementation. These findings are relevant for understanding the inner
workings of Brazilian SSC, as well as in comparison to other national bureaucracies'
involvement in the conceptualization and implementation of SouthSouth knowledge
Brazil, bureaucracy, development assistance, foreign policy, SouthSouth cooperation, technical
Brazil has become an important provider of development assistance,
especially to other Southerncountries, generally referred to as
SouthSouth cooperation (SSC).
Technical cooperationessentially
the exchange of existing knowledgehas been the key instrument in
the country's development assistance strategy (Dauvergne & Farias,
2012; Farias, 2015). Brazil's role as a provider of knowledge is not
new per se, with experiences tracing back many decades; however,
starting with the presidency of Luis Inácio Lulada Silva's (2003
2010), it reached new levels of importance to the country's overall for-
eign policy (Abdenur, 2015; Amorim, 2010; Burges, 2014; Inoue &
Vaz, 2012; Kragelund, 2011; Malamud, 2011).
There is a rich literature (albeit mostly in Portuguese) on Brazilian
foreign policymaking and provision of development assistance. Much
of this work examine the roles played by the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, diplomats, the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (Agência Brasileira
de CooperaçãoABC), and the Presidency (Burges, 2014; Burges &
Chagas Bastos, 2017; Faria, 2012; Farias & Ramanzini Jr, 2015; Leite,
Suyama, & Waisbich, 2013; Lopes, 2008; Milani & Pinheiro, 2013,
2017; Puente, 2010). The present article builds upon and adds to
There is no single accepted definition of SSC, albeit the following covers its
broad contours: the processes, institutions, and arrangements designed to pro-
mote political, economic, and technical cooperation among developing countries
in pursuit of common development goals(UNCTAD, 2010:1).
Received: 9 November 2017 Revised: 20 February 2018 Accepted: 16 March 2018
DOI: 10.1002/pad.1825
Public Admin Dev. 2019;39:174181.
Copyright © 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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