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Brazil-Africa technical cooperation in health: what’s its relevance to the post-Busan debate on ‘aid effectiveness’?

Giuliano Russo1*, Lídia Cabral2 and Paulo Ferrinho1

Author Affiliations

1 International Health and Biostatistics Unit, Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical, Universidade Nova of Lisbon, and Centro de Malária e Outras Doenças Tropicais, Rua da Junqueira 100, Lisbon, 1349-008, Portugal

2 Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, Library road Brighton, BN1 9RE, UK

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Globalization and Health 2013, 9:2  doi:10.1186/1744-8603-9-2

Published: 22 January 2013



Brazil is rapidly becoming an influential player in development cooperation, also thanks to its high-visibility health projects in Africa and Latin America. The 4th High-level Forum on Aid Effectiveness held in Busan in late 2011 marked a change in the way development cooperation is conceptualised. The present paper explores the issue of emerging donors’ contribution to the post-Busan debate on aid effectiveness by looking at Brazil’s health cooperation projects in Portuguese-speaking Africa.


We first consider Brazil’s health technical cooperation within the country’s wider cooperation programme, aiming to identify its key characteristics, claimed principles and values, and analysing how these translate into concrete projects in Portuguese-speaking African countries. Then we discuss the extent to which the Busan conference has changed the way development cooperation is conceptualised, and how Brazil’s technical cooperation health projects fit within the new framework.


We conclude that, by adopting new concepts on health cooperation and challenging established paradigms - in particular on health systems and HIV/AIDS fight - the Brazilian health experience has already contributed to shape the emerging consensus on development effectiveness. However, its impact on the field is still largely unscrutinised, and its projects seem to only selectively comply with some of the shared principles agreed upon in Busan. Although Brazilian cooperation is still a model in the making, not immune from contradictions and shortcomings, it should be seen as enriching the debate on development principles, thus offering alternative solutions to advance the discourse on cooperation effectiveness in health.

Health cooperation; Aid effectiveness; Brazilian cooperation; Aid architecture; Emerging donors; Emerging economies; Brazil and Africa