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How Do Experts Resist a Development Cooperation Project? The Case of the Mozambique-Brazil Generic Medicine Factory

Como os especialistas resistem a um projeto de cooperação para o desenvolvimento? O caso da fábrica de medicamentos genéricos Moçambique-Brasil


The cooperation between Brazil and Mozambique to set up a state-owned generic medicines factory in Mozambique has been identified as an innovative unorthodox South-South development collaboration. Its implementation – with its translations, adaptations, gaps and contradictions – makes it an interesting object for the socio-anthropology of development and public action. One approach in this field is to focus on the resistance by target groups of development projects. Previous research highlighted the criticisms of the ‘factory project’ implementation or the discrepancies of discourse and representations of the project between Mozambican and Brazilian officials. However, during the negotiation process, key health experts from both countries voluntarily withdrew from the project design or were critics of its conception and evolution. Focusing on what could be seen as a form of resistance, we will analyse who are the experts that distanced themselves, their reasons, and interrogate how their withdrawal led to some of the gaps and translation issues in the implementation process. The present article draws on interviews in Brazil, Mozambique and Europe with health and pharmaceutical experts, diplomats and government officials. We also analysed government reports from both countries, including archives from the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

South-South Cooperation; anthropology of public action; Brazil; Mozambique; local production of medicines

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