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International Development Cooperation as a Foreign Policy Instrument: The Political Economy of Brazilian Technical Cooperation from 2003 to 2016

A Cooperação Brasileira para o Desenvolvimento Internacional como Instrumento de Política Externa: a Economia Política da Cooperação Técnica Brasileira entre 2003 e 2016

La Coopération Internationale pour le Développement comme Instrument de Politique Étrangère: l’Économie Politique de la Coopération Technique Brésilienne de 2003 à 2016

La Cooperación Internacional al Desarrollo como Instrumento de Política Exterior: la Economía Política de la Cooperación Técnica Brasileña de 2003 a 2016


Why would a country provide International Development Cooperation (IDC)? The aid literature identifies moral and humanitarian purposes, political-diplomatic objectives, and economic interests as the main reasons a country would have an IDC policy. This paper contributes to this debate through a case study of Brazil’s motivation to provide technical cooperation between 2003 and 2016, employing an innovative analytical framework for this case. Especially during Luis Inácio Lula da Silva’s government, Brazil’s official discourse emphasized its national cooperation’s solidarity characteristics. One may link this non-indifference tone to the moral and humanitarian principles of providing IDC. Notwithstanding, the South-South Cooperation (SSC) mutual benefits narrative indicates political and economic interests in its execution. This paper analyzes the Brazilian Technical Cooperation (TC) allocation patterns between 2003 and 2016. It explores whether (and which) political and economic considerations were significant determinants of Brazilian cooperation. On the one hand, trade exports, subsided loans, and political support in international institutions help explain the Brazilian Technical Cooperation allocation pattern during this period. On the other, Brazil prioritized less-developed countries with better democratic institutions in its TC policy.

International Development Cooperation; South-South Cooperation; Foreign Aid; Technical Cooperation; Brazilian Foreign Policy

Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Políticos (IESP) da Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) R. da Matriz, 82, Botafogo, 22260-100 Rio de Janeiro RJ Brazil, Tel. (55 21) 2266-8300, Fax: (55 21) 2266-8345 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil