Brazil As An Emerging Donor: Overview
The majority of my blogging about Brazil has focused on reforms in the education system. This change is of course indicative of greater strides the country has been making in repositioning itself as an emerging global leader.
I have a particular interest in sustainable development so I thought I would take a step back from education in order to examine Brazil´s new position as donor rather then recipient.
There has been a recent shift in Brazilian thinking from viewing itself as a recipient of expertise and aid to one of offering support to other national efforts. Brazil has a broad history of creative problem solving in difficult situations which makes it well positioned to understand development work. Social inclusion with a focus on the environment seem to be the underlining themes of Brazil´s approach to development work.
To get a good sense of Brazil´s recent growth let´s take a look at Brazil´s contributions to international and regional development.
International Relations ( South-South relations)
2005 Brazil contributed US $ 158 million
2009 Brazil contributed US $362 million
The growth seen from 2005 to 2009 is largely an influence of Lula´s administration and his focus on improving South-South relations. Brazil seems to see itself more as a partnership builder rather then a donor. Brazilian aid in the early 2000´s was southern oriented and based on demand. Another distinguishing feature of Brazil´s emerging donor status is its approach to development;it has preferred to disseminate knowledge and training in order to build human resources in recipient countries rather then give cash.
In 2009 Brazil was ahead of China, Russia and Mexico in it´s contributions to international organizations, regional banks, peacekeepers ( Haiti), funds to the World Bank, International Development of America Bank and African Development Bank.
Brazil has had rapid growth in bilateral humanitarian aid for emergency assistance, especially food and medicine.
The majority of this aid went to Cuba, Haiti and Honduras.
The Brazilian National Development Bank offers financing to governments who contract Brazilian companies for large scale infrastructure programs.
Interestingly enough aside from multilateral contributions, humanitarian aid, and some foreign student assistance, only 5.5 %-13.5% of the annual Brazilian development assistance actually represents technical cooperation projects. These projects best highlight Brazil’s unique `solidarity diplomacy`.
More then 100 federal organizations have been involved in lending expertise for technical cooperation projects with most of the costs being absorbed by the agencies.
Brazil is focused on passing on its innovation and expertise to other countries as seen by the 300 + on-going or recently finished projects, examples include replications of Brazil´s AIDS programs and agricultural knowledge dissemination.
Overall Brazil has had two main phases to it´s technical cooperation projects with the first set focusing on Africa. Guinea, Mozambique, Zambia and 8 West African countries of The Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS). Most of Brazil´s support has focused on supporting national efforts for the introduction of biofuels.
The second cluster of projects are with the Americas and focus on the exchange of research and information for environmental protection and biofuels.
In the last 10 years Brazil has greatly expanded its development assistance for other countries. Technical cooperation projects use to form the bulk of Brazil´s assistance projects and served to introduce Brazil´s solidarity diplomacy to the world. More and more we will see the importance of Brazil as a contributor to the global common good, such a achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.