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Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional

On-line version ISSN 1983-3121

Rev. bras. polít. int. vol.60 no.1 Brasília  2017  Epub Feb 06, 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)

Rafael Tavares Schleicher1 

Ana Flávia Platiau2 

1Columbia University, Departament of Political Science, New York, United States (

2Universidade de Brasília, Instituto de Relações Internacionais, Brasília, Brazil (


Based on the "street-level" and the "theory of the bureaucracy" approaches, the article contends that national bureaucracies may play an important role in explaining the relation between Brazilian foreign policy and international technical cooperation. Drawing lessons from a 2009 ENAP-ISAP project in Mozambique, we concluded that the Brazilian National School of Public Administration - ENAP's interests and autonomy in the implementation process may influence Brazilian bilateral relations.

Keywords: ENAP; Brazilian Foreign Policy; South-South Cooperation; Mozambique


During the terms of the former Brazilian President Luís Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-2006 and 2007-2010), the number of technical cooperation projects rose dramatically in comparison to previous periods. Available data for the 2005-2009 period demonstrates that while the total support Brazil provided for Official Development Assistance (ODA) reached almost R$3 billion, the total disbursement per year more than doubled when comparing the years of 2005 and 2009 (IPEA/ABC 2010, 19). In the case of the technical, scientific and technological cooperation, or simply "technical cooperation" (ABC 2013, 5), the total amount invested increased more than three times during the same period, even though this modality of cooperation only represented a small fraction of the total amount invested in the Brazilian ODA.

As important as compiling the amount Brazil invested in ODA, the underlying reasons which allowed its exponential growth are more complex than a single statistical effort. At the system level, the financial crisis in central economies such as the U.S. and the European Union paved the way to the rapid increase of South-South investments and cooperation, both within IBSA and BRICS, or bilaterally. These conditions at the systemic level may have provided a fertile ground for promoting changes in the foreign policy strategies of emerging countries, such as China, India and Brazil.

Reaping the benefits of previous domestic structural adjustments and increased foreign investment, Brazil found itself in a situation of sustained economic growth, accumulated expertise in many public policy areas and redefined foreign policy strategies in the sense of South-South cooperation, in which Africa was a priority. Making use of an active diplomacy in the pursuit of its foreign policy goals, Brazilian technical cooperation projects were presented as a channel to provide expertise to Southern countries based on the human capital available in the Brazilian public service. As the former Brazilian Chancellor Celso Amorim frequently stated, technical cooperation was understood as an instrument of Brazilian foreign policy carved by "solidarity" principles (Amorim 2010), which materialized the Brazilian willingness to increase its role in the provision of global public goods, differently from China and India. Notwithstanding, the official discourse of the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs (Itamaraty) overshadows important aspects of the how technical cooperation relates to Brazilian foreign policy. The rhetoric of "solidarity diplomacy" assumes that public institutions (i.e. bureaucracies) of Brazilian public service would be willing to provide technical support for Southern countries solely based on the "solidarity" logic (Barbosa 2012). However, the official discourse disregards the fact that bureaucrats are not neutral players in the policy process and that bureaucracies have their own institutional interests. Furthermore, even when bureaucracies decide to engage in international technical cooperation, the projects are commonly implemented by "street-level" bureaucrats (Lipsky 2010), who may influence the bilateral relations during the implementation process.

This article intends to examine the relations between foreign policy and Brazilian bilateral technical cooperation. If the bureaucracies control the provision of public goods during the implementation phase of technical cooperation projects, is it possible to assume that the declared foreign policy intentions define their behavior? This article states that the answer is negative and, therefore, Itamaraty should progressively bridge the gap between the official foreign policy discourse and the implementation of international technical cooperation projects. To do so, the impact of the Brazilian cooperation initiatives with recipient countries should be measured and incorporated to the policy process. As a null hypothesis, it stems from the idea propagated by Itamaraty that Brazilian foreign policy strategies define the nature of the technical cooperation projects (Schmitz 2010). As an alternative hypothesis, the article contends that bureaucratic interests and control over implementation are factors that may influence bilateral relations from the bottom up.

Using Downs' Theory of Bureaucracy and Lipsky's concept of "street-level" bureaucracy, we support that the implementation phase of international cooperation projects must consider multiple actors and interests. To test the hypothesis, the article proposes a single case study, drawn from a bilateral technical cooperation project between Brazil and Mozambique. The project was implemented by the Brazilian National School of Public Administration (ENAP) in partnership with the Mozambican National Institute of Public Administration (ISAP) from 2009 (project design) to 2012 (impact evaluation). The main reasons to choose this bilateral technical cooperation project are: (i) Mozambique and Brazil share strong historic identities (Saraiva 2001); (ii) Mozambique has massive business opportunities in which Chinese and Indian companies have been investing; (iv) Mozambique is a successful case among post-conflict countries (UNCTAD 2009).

The main objective of this article is to explore the relations between Brazilian foreign policy goals and bilateral technical cooperation projects, in the particular context of the single case study of the bilateral ENAP-ISAP project. To pursue this goal, Brazilian foreign policy strategy is compared to the Chinese and Indian cases, in order to show how different the three countries' presence in Africa are (Harman and Brown 2013; Lechini 2012). The level of analysis then changes to the subnational, in order to discuss whether there is an analytical gap in the relation between foreign policy discourse and the role of Brazilian bureaucracies. Finally, the single case study is presented to test the null hypothesis. As final remarks, the article rejects the null hypothesis and contends that foreign policy strategies at the bilateral level must consider the interests of bureaucracies involved in the implementation of bilateral technical cooperation projects.

Three Foreign Policy Strategies for Africa in the New Millennium

The situation of Africa in the 2000s was radically different from the 90s, when analysts massively publicized a never-ending list of "failures" of African societies. Africa was the fastest-growing regional economy on earth during the period 2000-2009 and it is also the host region of eleven of the fastest-growing countries according to the World Economic Outlook of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Based on the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) data, Africa displayed an average growth above 6% between 2005-2008, and projects an average of 5% for 2011-2013 (Mayaki 2009). In addition, and following a global trend, the incidence of conflicts in the African continent has decreased considerably, undermining the traditional military-based definitions of security in favor of a multifaceted understanding of "threat" and "insecurity" by introducing elements of material inequality, justice and citizenship (World Bank 2011).

The indicators would easily lead to optimistic scenarios about the future performance of the African economies. Analysts usually highlight the fast urbanization process, the emerging urban middle classes and the abundance of commodities as the main reasons why Africa may be seen as the golden investment opportunity in terms of return rates (Dorr 2011). For them, Africa represents the last frontier for the global capitalist system. Nevertheless, it is mandatory to understand the presence and the goals of both China and India in the African continent.

Reporting in the late 2007, the UN Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) remarked that Asia had recently become a significant source of FDI in Africa. The reason the Commission pointed out the small FDI growth from Asia in comparison to other regions was that African markets were small and their development level were generally low. In addition, the Commission discussed the effects of high transaction costs associated with low knowledge of the local markets, poor regulatory framework and also that Asian companies are usually looking for knowledge-intensive labor force (UNCTAD 2007). What has changed since then?

The 2008 economic crisis had different impacts throughout the world. Emerging countries like China, India and Brazil stimulated the appetite of their local consumer markets through state-oriented policies with considerable degree of success. Africa, in its turn, benefited both from the quick economic measures adopted by the Chinese and Indian governments and also from new financial flows from the Arab Gulf, which helped maintaining the level of investments in infrastructure projects guided by NEPAD strategy (UNCTAD 2007). Considering that North American interest in Africa has remained stable from the end of the Cold War until the late 2000s, and that the investment capacity of traditional partners from Europe slightly declined after the 2008 crisis, considerable room was made for Chinese, Indian and Brazilian investments (AfDB/OECD/UNDP/UNECA 2011).

China and India

There seems to be a consensus among analysts that Chinese goals in Africa were related to a safe supply of minerals, energy and other commodities for maintaining the sustainability of its economic growth. To a lesser extent, the Chinese marginally sought to develop local consumer markets as "safe havens" for the occasional surpluses of Chinese manufactured products (UNCTAD 2007; Broadman 2008; Lechini 2012; Harman and Brown 2013). Recent trends in the Chinese-African political and economic relations during the 2000s support this general perception.

Although the Chinese FDI in Africa dates back to the 80s, it was not until 2000 that Chinese interests grew bigger and an official cooperation strategy with the African Continent was formalized. The Chinese strategy is based on the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), officially established as a coordination mechanism for reaching consensus, cooperation and equal participation among China and fifty African States. But the two major agenda items of the 1st Ministerial Conference poses questions that go much further than merely trade and political understanding: "1. In what way should we work towards the establishment of a new international political and economic order in the 21st century? 2. How should we further strengthen Sino-African economic cooperation and trade under the new circumstances?"1. The Ministerial Conferences are held every three years and are attended by the Foreign Ministers of each country as well as the ministers-in-charge of economic cooperation. Senior Official preparatory meetings precede the Ministerial Conferences in a few days and are usually attended by director-level official of competent departments of government2. Follow-up meetings take place every year in China and also a year before each Ministerial Meeting, when senior officials of each country discuss the status of cooperation. Finally, the 3rd Ministerial Conference held in 2006 decided to establish an additional mechanism for political consultation between the parties, gathering foreign ministers in New York every year after the Ministerial Conferences, during the United Nations General Assembly.3

In the period of 2000-2012, five Ministerial Meetings took place and four Action Plans were put forward to strengthen Africa-China relations. Actions were concentrated in strategic areas such as human resources training, export credit lines, preferential loans and preferential export-buyer's credit, promotion of local development projects financed by Chinese-African Development Funds, agriculture, local stimulus for scientific and technological development, provision of scholarships, and deployment of Chinese physicians. Recent data released by the African Development Bank (AfDB) confirmed that the Chinese cooperation efforts were effectively translated into economic results: the share of Chinese trade with Africa grew from 4.7% in 2000 to 13.9% in 2009. Chinese trade with Africa represented nearly 40% of the total African trade between Africa and its Emerging Partners in 2009, while the Official Development Assistance (ODA) represented 25% of the total assistance of Emerging Partners to Africa in the same year.4

Generally speaking, India had goals similar to China, being the access to African markets its ultimate priority. Even though India has been tailoring a similar strategy in regards to the creation of a coordination body for its relations with African countries - the India-Africa Forum - there are sound differences in that which concerns the internationalization of Indian businesses in comparison to the Chinese strategy. Firstly, African-Indian relations have historical roots, dating back to the commerce between the territories during the British colonial occupation. Secondly, nearly 10% of the "Indian Diaspora" had Africa as a destination.

Finally, even though the Indian State has a role in the internationalization and investment efforts, the bulk of transactions is business-driven.5 Indian efforts in Africa seem to be linked to the economic rationale of expansion to guarantee sustained growth and also to the raising fears associated to the current expansion of investments promoted by China in Africa. Differently from China, the expansion to Africa is not linked to a grand and unified State-led strategy (Taylor 2013). The India-Africa forum comprises several areas of cooperation. While China covers a vast array of issue areas, India cooperation is strongly directed towards technical assistance and capacity-building, especially in the fields of education, training, and technological support. Another sound difference from China is the fact that Indian projects are directly funded instead of adopting a Chinese model of grant supply. Since China is usually seen in Africa as an aggressive state-led investor and trader, India tried to show a different face, and so did Brazil, notably in the words of former President Lula6.


The most remarkable traits of Brazilian foreign policy seem to be continuity and stability (Saraiva 2003), which are usually focused on historic and organizational considerations (Cervo and Bueno 2008), emphasizing: (i) the normative-idealist character of foreign policy discourse and the projection of a Brazilian "image" in the international system (Lafer 2009); (ii) the relation between the consolidated bureaucracy represented by the Itamaraty and the stability of the foreign policy goals in the long run (Cheibub 1985, 1989). In what concerns the Brazilian foreign policy and the Brazil-Africa relations during the terms of President Lula, one additional debate is imperative: the role of new subnational public and private actors in both the formulation/implementation of foreign policy as well as their influence on the relations with foreign countries (Figueira 2010; Faria 2012; Milani, 2014).

In Brazil, the arguments on the uniqueness of foreign policy vis-à-vis other public policies are essentially rooted in assumptions about the self-help character of state relations (Lima 2000). According to such arguments, only centralization and vertical control over foreign policy formulation/practice in the domestic system would guarantee the necessary coherence in external affairs. The argument holds less true, however, with assumptions due to the decentralized character of decision-making processes in democracies. These assumptions are based on a Realist epistemology of the unitary-state that fails to capture that the foreign policy formulation/implementation in democracies is also a direct result of the domestic political struggles (Cardoso 2010). In other words, although the Brazilian foreign policy is considered to be centralized in Itamaraty, there are emerging bureaucratic powers in the implementation of technical cooperation projects that play a key role in South-South cooperation.

During the 2003-2010 period, Itamaraty promoted the idea that "In a democracy, foreign policy is one amidst a number of foreign policies. It ought to be subject to the scrutiny of public opinion and be mindful of people's will as expressed at the ballot box"(Amorim 2010, 214-215). Such understanding is paramount for framing the processes pertaining to the Brazilian-African relations during the this period, once it permits an interplay of three political instances: (i) the economic rise of Africa; (ii) Brazilian Foreign Policy to Africa and the role of President Lula da Silva in promoting the relations with Africa; (iii) the emergence of new actors from different public policies areas in the formulation/implementation in foreign policy, especially regarding the relation between the foreign policy and technical cooperation. Since the first issue has already been discussed, the analysis will focus on Lula's foreign policy for Africa and its impacts. The third issue will be discussed thoroughly in the following session.

Brazilian foreign policy is generally known for its focus on consensus and for advancing ideas and proposals that may lead to a transformation "from within" the international order. As the former Chancellor Celso Amorim stated more than once, Brazil is in a permanent struggle to promote democratic values and reduce the inequality among states in international order (Amorim 2011). In this vein, some analysts emphasize that multilateralism is a historic pillar of Brazilian foreign policy (Fonseca 2011). On the other hand, others stress that Brazilian preference for multilateralism is in fact a strategy of articulating the norms and principles that constitute the international structure/order to promote the national interest without relying on force or threats, known as "consensual hegemony" (Burges 2008). Although the interpretations on the use of the discourse to accomplish foreign policy goals vary, Itamaraty seems to promote an image of a "negotiating power" and "consensus-builder". As an analyst has recently remarked, Brazil intends to be seen as "(...) the ultimate soft-power power" (Glasser 2010). In sum, Brazilian strategy towards Africa during President Lula terms was purposely diverse from the Chinese and Indian ones.

The image Brazil projected to the world mattered for its relations with Africa. The Lula administration promoted the idea that Brazil-Africa relations should be based both on historic/cultural grounds and on shared economic-political interests (Amorim 2011, 180). In fact, and from a historical point of view, Africa had a constitutive role in the Brazilian society. Far from being a relation based on material grounds, Brazil has a huge cultural identity with African societies. Alternatively, Africa also had a special place in Lula's foreign policy, once it was seen as a destination for Brazilian businesses and also an important source of support at the multilateral level (Saraiva 2010, 169-182).

When promoting the new Atlantic Strategy between Brazil and Africa, President Lula was a key player. The President made twelve official missions to Africa, having visited twenty-three African countries. As a result of the direct involvement of Lula promoting relations with Africa, the then Brazilian Chancellor made sixty-seven official visits to Africa in thirty-four different African countries. In addition, by the end of 2011, Brazil had diplomatic staff in thirty-seven of the fifty-four African countries (World Bank and IPEA 2011, 40-43).

In a broader sense, Brazil intended to promote an image that linked its own fate to the well-being of the community of States, in a "(...) dialectic relation between national interest and the exercise of solidarity" (Amorim 2011, 225). Technical cooperation was responsible for building bridges that helped reducing inequalities among states and progressively endorsed the idea of changing the order "from within". In other words, it was considered to be an instrument that materialized the Brazilian contribution to the provision of global public goods. Therefore, Brazilian cooperation with Africa was strongly focused on building capacity and sharing expertise to develop local government capacity. The strategy for Africa was known as a reformulated version of the old "Atlantismo", one in which horizontal relations and enduring partnerships were the key ingredients (Schleicher 2015).

Less understood, however, are the inter-bureaucratic dynamics that arose during the design and implementation of technical cooperation projects and their relation to the foreign policy goals (Inoue and Vaz 2012, 528). As Hirst noted, "Brazil understands the CSS [South-South Cooperation] as an institutional act of providing public goods from its agencies and state organizations"(2012, 10). If international cooperation is an instrument of foreign policy and the former, in its turn, depends on the provision of public goods deriving from other national public policy issue-areas, it seems logical to conclude that bureaucratic politics also play an important role in explaining Brazilian foreign policy process. To some extent, a recent analysis on the presence of Brazil in Haiti, Guinea and Bolivia discusses such an idea when pointing out that the more consolidated a public policy issue-area is, the more it helps projecting Brazil internationally through international cooperation initiatives "(Hirst 2012, 12).

Policy Implementation and Foreign Policy: Lessons from the ENAP-ISAP South-South Technical Cooperation Project

Bureaucracies, bureaucrats, and the role of implementation

For Weber, "bureaucracy" is an ideal-type organization based on assumptions of rationality and legality (1999). His model predicted that the "bureaucracy" would demand a strict system of rules and processes to assure a well-defined chain of command, a high degree of impersonality, and the division of labor focused on efficiency and individual expertise. Based on that, Weber was able to discuss the fundamental social implications and the organizational dysfunctions associated to the model, such as the inability to promote change, the incidence of corruption, and the excessive focus on expert advice in relation to societal demands.

The Weberian logic, however, assumes that bureaucrats would behave according to the prescribed norms and rules. Anthony Downs (1965, 439-446) challenges this assumption by advancing the idea that at least part of the time bureaucrats would be motivated by their own self-interest during the decision-making processes. In other words, bureaucrats are not simply individuals who work for bureaus, but rational and utility maximizing agents who pursue a complex set of personal and organizations goals. Bureaucrats could be defined as individuals who work for a large organization; whose personal income fundamentally comes from the organization; whose promotion/retention is based on performance and individual expertise; who produce results that cannot be exclusively measured by market-based metrics.

Concerning the underlying interests that drive the individual behavior, Downs prescribes that bureaucrats would fall into five distinct groups: (i) "Climbers", who seek power, income and prestige for personal purposes; (ii) "Conservers", who seek to maintain their own convenience and security by supporting status quo alternatives; (iii) "Zealots", whose loyalty is restricted to a particular policy or an underlying concept that drives a policy; (iv) "Advocates", who are loyal to a set of policies and/or to an organization. Advocates tend to support their organization or part of the organization at all costs in conflicts with "outsiders"; (v)"Statesmen", whose loyalty lie in the greater good and the society well-being as a whole. Even though bureaucrats are self-interested actors, neither their interests nor the organizational goals can be analyzed without taking into account the conditions and characteristics of the external environment (Downs 1965).

In a pure rational-maximization model, the assumptions of perfect information and high capacity of each actor to process the data, rank the options, and chose the one that maximizes the utility are frequently used (Downs 1965). However, in real-world decision environments where actors operate, no such open access to information exists (March 1994). In addition, actors usually have limited time and capacity to make decisions. Consequently, alternative decision models were developed to explain how past experiences and incremental changes provide a viable option for choice among bureaucrats or how bureaucrats estimate and decide to take risks associated with organizational choices (Lindblom 1959, 79-88).

Aside from the assumptions of rationality and maximization, there is a particular problem in the discussion of the Weberian ideal-type and the model proposed by Downs: they both disregard the fact that bureaucrats may have different interests and behavior depending on their position inside the bureaucracy. Weber assumes that the rational rule-based system provides the necessary legitimacy for the hierarchic differentiation inside the bureaucracy, given that the rules provide a system based on merit and individual performance. Downs assumes that his heuristic exercise to segregate bureaucrats according to their interests would apply to any bureaucrat, regardless of his/her position in the organizational structure. To bridge the gap, Michael Lipsky (2010) proposes an insightful duality between managers (high level bureaucrats) and technicians (street-level bureaucrats).

Lipsky defines a "street-level" bureaucrat as a civil servant who interacts directly with the citizen and who has a considerable discretion and room to maneuver during the implementation of a policy. The discretion enjoyed by street-level bureaucrats mainly arises as a mechanism to cope with constraints related to time, as well as the lack of information and resources to implement the policy. Such bureaucrats typically develop specific and innovative routines to deal with the demands and expectations related to the public service provision. Furthermore, they usually prioritize the implementation of some aspects of a policy over others, creating a paradox of discretion inside the authoritative rule-based structure that defines the very idea of "bureaucracy".

The "street-level" bureaucracy idea modifies the decision environment in at least two ways. First, as those bureaucrats develop new routines and protocols to cope with uncertainties, such mechanisms effectively become the essence of the policy that is being implemented. Secondly, aside from the traditional inter-bureaucratic politics that may emerge from the different individual interests discussed by Downs, the struggle between high-level (managers) and street-level (technicians) become an important and integral part of the policy-making process. In other words, street-level bureaucrats have a relative autonomy from the organizational authority while enjoying a high degree of discretion and control over policy implementation.

Case Study: the ENAP-ISAP Technical Cooperation Project

From the standpoint of the Foreign Policy decision-making, the technical cooperation is promoted as a tool to pursue Brazilian foreign policy goals in a given country and, systemically, as an incarnation of Brazilian contribution to the global provision of public goods. Brazilian technical cooperation has a particular focus on capacity-building, implying that the mobilization and development of local resources are the main goals of any Technical Cooperation Project (Agência Brasileira de Cooperação 2010, 5-8). To achieve such goals, Brazilian technical cooperation initiatives usually presume that the initial demand comes directly from the interested party and the relations between Brazil and the beneficiary country will be based on a true partnership. It is important to stress that, differently from the traditional ODA based on grants and/or pure knowledge transfer by "experts", Brazilian capacity-building approach to bilateral technical cooperation implies an active and horizontal dialogue between partners, which may also eventually lead to mutual learning.

It is important to note that the ABC does not possess the resources to implement technical cooperation projects. Even though the ABC is the institution inside Itamaraty responsible to supervise official technical cooperation projects, the Agency usually makes use of human resources from other Brazilian organizations to implement them. During Lula's terms, many Brazilian federal bureaucracies received requests from the ABC to design and implement technical cooperation projects, particularly in developing countries (South-South cooperation). In doing so, the ABC frequently mobilized the available human resources from Brazilian federal civil servants (high-rank and street-level bureaucrats) to materialize the demand from developing countries. In the case study under scrutiny in this article, the Brazilian National School of Public Administration (ENAP) and its human resources were the most important actors involved in implementation from the Brazilian side.

ENAP as a Bureaucracy

The Brazilian National School of Public Administration (ENAP) was officially created in 1990.7 Bill 8140/90 defined its organization mission as "developing continued education and capacity building of public servants from the Brazilian Federal Public Administration". In addition, Bill 8140/90 determined that ENAP was be responsible for coordinating and supervising all continued education programs for all federal civil servants of the Brazilian federal administration, since ENAP was not the only bureaucracy inside the Brazilian federal government that provided capacity building courses and continued education programs for federal civil servants.

Bill 8140/90 was later regulated by the Decree 6563 of 2008, which approved ENAP's statute and its organizational structure.8 ENAP's organizational mission was reinstated by the decree as "promoting, designing and implementing capacity building programs for the Federal Public Administration, aiming at increasing the government capacity to manage public policies". The decree also determined six major business processes: (i) designing and implementing managerial development programs for the public administration; (ii) coordinating and supervising the managerial development programs for public civil servants implemented by other schools of government of the federal public administration; (iii) design and implement initial training programs for public service careers and permanent capacity-building programs for public agents; (iv) promote, explore and disseminate knowledge on public management, making ample use of research activities, public events, editorial activities and national and international exchange programs; (v) provide technical assistance to the design of strategies and projects whose goal is the development, training, capacity building, and continued education of managers and public servants; (vi) define and implement the system of schools of government of the Union.

ENAP's organizational structure was strictly related to its business processes. The president of ENAP was directly supported by its cabinet, the international advisors' office, the attorney's office and the internal audit office. Directly under the president's authority, there were four directors: (i) internal management; (ii) professional education; (iii) managerial development; (iv) communication and research. The major decision-making instance of ENAP was the board of directors, composed by the president and his four directors, all with voting powers.

As a public foundation regulated by Brazilian public law, the permanent staff of the School is mainly composed by career c servants. In 2008, there were 169 career public servants at ENAP representing 84% of the total workforce.9 According to the Brazilian 1988 Federal Constitution and Bill 8112/90, the hiring process for any public post is based on competitive exams. During the Lula administration, ENAP organized two public contests to fill approximately eighty-five permanent posts for the career named "educational affairs technician", in 2006 and in 2009.10 When the project with Mozambique was finalized, in 2012, the workforce at the School was composed of 288 individuals, all of them civil servants.11

Recalling Downs' four criteria to define a bureaucracy and bureaucrats, ENAP seems to be a good fit. It is a large institution whose majority of members are full-time workers. In addition, the hiring and retention of its employees are based exclusively on merit. Finally, the impact and results of ENAP's main product - capacity building and educational courses - cannot be measured in terms of profit. In addition, unlike many bureaucracies of the Brazilian federal public service, ENAP's services are directly provided to its client, the public servants and agents.

The Environment of the ENAP-ISAP Technical Cooperation

International cooperation was an important instrument to support the ENAP mission, considering that the ENAP itself was inspired by a foreign benchmark among the Schools of Government, the French École Nationale d'Administration (ENA). Since its creation, ENAP has been a recipient of international cooperation projects from several traditional donors. The international cooperation agreement with the Canadian School of Government, for example, resulted in considerable improvement of courses related to leadership.12 A second example of ENAP's international cooperation was the development of a training course for practitioners of international cooperation from the Federal Government, a partnership among ENAP, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ, in German) and the ABC.13

Furthermore, like many other public entities, through the years ENAP accumulated considerable organizational knowledge and best practices. During the Brazilian reform of the public sector, conducted by Minister Luis Bresser Pereira, under president Fernando Henrique Cardoso first and second terms (1995-1998 and 1999-2002), professional training became a strategy for disseminating the reform's objectives and priorities among public civil servants (Pereira 1998, Pereira and Spink 1998). During President Lula's two terms, ENAP also grew in importance with the Labor's Party demands for developing leadership training in the public sector. In addition, during Lula's terms, ENAP made a considerable effort to coordinate the capacity-building initiatives among the thirteen federal schools of government and also to manage the dense network of all schools of government from the Federal, State and local governments in Brazil.14 Notwithstanding, and like many bureaucracies, the ENAP mission did not envision the direct assistance to foreign countries. As stated in the Decree 6563/08, the primary aim of ENAP's international cooperation activities was to increase its own capacity to implement its organizational mission for Brazilian public servants.

As discussed before, Lula's administration assumed that South-South technical cooperation would be defined by the Brazilian foreign policy strategies. This assumption, though, was not automatic at the "street-level" of technical cooperation. In fact, many bureaucracies of the Brazilian federal public service had to restructure their business processes and regular activities and in order to cope with the requests of the ABC and the demands from international partners. In the current case study, managers at ENAP saw the project with Mozambique as an opportunity to internationalize the School, by testing its educational strategies in different cultural environments, receiving students from foreign countries, and offering mixed-class courses with Brazilian and foreign students. After the project with Mozambique was successfully finalized, it came with no surprise that ENAP decided to revise the Decree 6563/08 and include international cooperation as one of its business processes "VI - Develop and manage national and international cooperation projects".15

Implementation and the role of ENAP

The Technical Cooperation Project between ENAP and ISAP is the result of a long negotiation process that can be traced back to September 19, 1981, when Brazil and Mozambique signed a Framework Agreement for the Technical Cooperation. In 2003, representatives from both countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the field of Public Administration in Maputo. It was only in May 2009, that the Brazilian and the Mozambican Government were able to define a particular scope for the technical cooperation on public administration discussed in the MoU. The 2009 "Executive Program" between Brazil and Mozambique was named "Support to the Strategic Managerial Development of the Mozambican Government".

In its Article I, the Executive Program envisioned a technical cooperation based on two main objectives: (i) promoting capacity-building events for employees and agents of the public administration of Mozambique, in order to optimize the implementation of public policies and resources; (ii) promoting the exchange of publications or any other activity that strengthens institutions involved in the field of public management.16 Curiously, even though the Executive Program provides a narrow scope for a technical cooperation project, it silences about the role of evaluation. Although it defines that such a project should have clear objectives, activities and results (Art. II), there is no single word about how (or if) objectives, activities or results should be evaluated. In fact, the underlying logic of Article IV provisions is that only activities should be monitored by the four parties involved. In other words, parties should monitor the activities to assure the delivery of educational services, but not how the services impacted in the organizations involved or in the relations with the recipient country, in a broader sense.

As soon as the Executive Program was signed, the ABC invited ENAP to join a mission to Mozambique (Fax ABC/251, May 14, 2009) and ENAP recommended three specialists from the School (Ofício n. 251/2009/Presidência-ENAP, May 18, 2009). The mission was designed to evaluate if the information technology infrastructure in Maputo could support the demand of on-line courses offered by ENAP and the physical structure to support other face-to-face courses and workshops. The mission took place from June 8 to 14, 2009, and resulted in a draft proposal focused on five results: (i) developing leaders; (ii) strengthening the organizational capacity to produce and manage organizational knowledge; (iii) supporting public institutions to develop their training programs; (iv) support the Mozambican system for training and development of public servants (SIFAPA), which comprised ISAP (training for high-rank bureaucrats) and the Institutos de Formação em Adminisração Pública e Autárquica - IFAPAs (training for low-rank and street-level level bureaucrats); (v) increase the number of on-line courses.

The resulting Technical Cooperation Project was signed with delay on April 14, 2010, with an estimated budget of US$ 930,478.05 and a time frame of 18 months. Among the five expected results from the first draft, the project focused on four results: (i) High and low rank public servants attended courses on leadership, team management, project management and strategic planning; (ii) SIFAPA managers trained on leadership, planning and strategic/systems approach; (iii) SIFAPA teams trained to design and implement courses aligned to the development of professional competencies in public administration; (iv) publications sent to Mozambique. The final outcomes for each planned activity are displayed on Table 1 below.

Table 1  Outcomes of Project "Apoio ao Desenvolvimento Gerencial Estratégico do Governo de Moçambique" 

ACTIVITIES Outcome Goal Performance Enrollment Dropouts Dropouts rate
Goal - Train 293 directors, managers, supervisors and technicians of the Mozambican government in the fields of leadership, team management, project management and strategic planning 165 293 56,31% 174 9 5,17%
Activity 1.1: COURSE: LIDERANÇA: REFLEXÃO E AÇÃO 28 30 93,33% 28 0 0,00%
Activity 1.2: COURSE: PAPEL DO GERENTE NA GESTÃO DO DESEMPENHO DE EQUIPES cancelled 120 0,00% 0 0 0,00%
Activity 1.3: COURSE: ELABORAÇÃO E GERENCIAMENTO DE PROJETOS 29 30 96,67% 38 9 23,68%
Activity 1.5: WORKSHOP: DESENVOLVIMENTO DE EQUIPES 45 60 75,00% 45 0 0,00%
Activity 1.6: COURSE: LIDERANÇA: REFLEXÃO e AÇÃO 5 5 100,00% 5 0 0,00%
Goal 2 - Train SIFAPA management teams in the fields of leadership, planning and strategic/systems approach 17 20 85,00% 24 7 29,17%
2.1: WORKSHOP: ALINHAMENTO ESTRATÉGICO 17 20 85,00% 24 7 29,17%
Goal 3 - Train 100 educators to design and implement courses aligned to the development of professional competencies in public administration 90 100 90,00% 111 21 18,92%
Activity 3.1: MISSION TO ENAP 10 10 100,00% 10 0 0,00%
Activity 3.2: COURSE: DESENHO INSTRUCIONAL 26 30 86,67% 32 6 18,75%
Activity 3.3: COURSE: DIDÁTICA PARA FACILITADORES 54 60 90,00% 69 15 21,74%
TOTAL 272 413 65,86% 309 37 11,97%

Source: DDG/ENAP. Final Report of Project "Apoio ao Desenvolvimento Gerencial Estratégico do Governo de Moçambique". December 15, 2011.

Coming back to the central argument of this article, why did ENAP decide to participate in a project with complex logistics of implementation, high costs and that officially involved four organizations from two countries? Should one accept the assumption that any resource of the Brazilian public institution is available for the implementation of a South-South Cooperation project just for the sake that this modality of cooperation presumes "solidarity"?

In fact, and supported by several documents provided by the School, the main interest of ENAP was not primarily the provision of services based on the idea of "solidarity". As discussed before, ENAP accumulated considerable knowledge from its past experiences with Brazilian public service and international cooperation projects. From the standpoint of the organization, ENAP was interested in expanding its activities and gaining new knowledge that increased the quality of its services. In other words, it was focused on internationalization opportunities as many other Brazilian bureaucracies, like the Embrapa and the federal universities.

A central document in such a discussion is the 2010 "Projeto Básico" (Framework Project) for the Technical Cooperation Project. In short, it is a document required by Brazilian Bill 8666/93 that states all the elements related to the provision of public services and goods that may result in the disbursement of public funds. In the case of the project with Mozambique, the "Projeto Básico" clearly tries to bridge the gap between the solidarity component of the technical cooperation and the institutional interest based on the organizational mission defined by the Decree 6563/08, when it concludes that

It remains evident that the implementation of the planned activities will contribute to the institutional growth of the public administration of Mozambique, but the School is also aware that the implementation of the project will benefit the administration of the international technical cooperation policy of the Federal Government, promoting, designing and implementing capacity building courses for public servants, according to its Statute.

Using Downs' typology, there were also two strong "advocates" for the project inside ENAP, the international advisor of the School and the director of managerial development (who was also the project manager of the Technical Cooperation Project). Both actors worked to promote the idea that the project was aligned to the organizational mission and interests. In fact, they were important actors when ENAP decided to propose to the ABC an impact evaluation for the project. Although the project did not anticipate any impact evaluation on the institutions and relations with Mozambique, ENAP was strongly interested in assessing the degree of success of its educational strategies and the organizational learning results. Also, the ENAP was eager to extend the project to a second phase, while the ABC was interested in developing alternative models to evaluate South-South cooperation projects.

In this sense, ENAP proposed to restructure the project and build an ex-post impact evaluation matrix in a two-step process. The first was a workshop in March 2012, when participants from the ENAP and the ABC developed a logical framework for the project, an impact evaluation matrix and the questionnaires to be applied on-line and face-to-face to individuals involved in the project from all levels (students, managers, technicians, etc). The second step was a mission to Mozambique in April 2012, in order to conduct twenty-four face-to-face interviews based on the questionnaires.

As expected by ENAP, the final report of the impact evaluation released in June 2012 revealed the high performance of the indicators for each objective defined in the logical framework matrix.17 ENAP used a qualitative method of research based on the idea of "waves of impact", which intended to identify the reach and depth of change from of the actions from the individual to the broader goals of the Government of Mozambique. ENAP's methodology and impact evaluation had a positive impact on other South-South cooperation projects, such as Embrapa's Cotton-4 Project (Suyama and Rigout, not dated), and also as an additional source of information to the ABC's "Manual de Gestão de Cooperação Técnica Sul-Sul", issued in 2013. Finally, the bilateral relations were clearly influenced by the success of the project, given the willingness of all partners to continue the cooperation (ENAP 2012, 7-8).


Two lessons can be drawn for the relations between Brazilian foreign policy and the technical cooperation with Africa. Firstly, and rejecting the null hypothesis, the bilateral technical cooperation projects are more than instruments of the Brazilian foreign policy under Itamaraty's control. The implementation process is composed by complex interests which arise from bureaucratic processes, although in the case of the ENAP-ISAP project only the bureaucratic process in Brazil was assessed. From the Brazilian perspective, there is a strong diplomatic and presidential effort that leads to the perception of a technical cooperation centralized by Itamaraty, but the analysis of the implementation process of the case study demonstrated that ENAP had its own interests and considerable room to maneuver from the very beginning. This conclusion is compatible with literature about the role bureaucracies may play on the foreign policy processes, which is still underexplored in Brazil. In addition, it seems that the discourse based on the Southern "solidarity" may have been used mostly to differentiate the Brazilian strategy from the Chinese and Indian cases.

Secondly, the alternative hypothesis, that bureaucracies may have an important impact in influencing the bilateral relations with foreign countries, was verified. Notwithstanding, from an International Relations theoretical point of view and from the analysis of the Brazilian official discourse, the roles of bureaucrats and the street-level bureaucracy remain invisible. In addition to the key role ENAP played in this South-South cooperation project, the interests of bureaucrats as "advocates" to the project and the role of street-level bureaucrats - who effectively implemented and assessed the impacts of the project - confirm the ideas proposed by Downs and Lipsky. As a consequence, in the ENAP case, the relation between Brazilian foreign policy and the implementation of the technical cooperation project supposes specific interests from participating bureaucracies and a significant degree of autonomy for them. This conclusion remains to be tested in other similar cases.

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Received: March 10, 2016; Accepted: July 26, 2016

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