The Africa-Brazil Cooperation Programme on Social Development is the result of a partnership between Brazil’s Ministry of Social Development and Fight Against Hunger (MDS), the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the International Poverty Centre (IPC). It was inspired by a 2007 cooperation project between Brazil and Ghana. The Programme seeks to promote international technical cooperation between developing countries to foster social protection policies.
The partnership between DFID and Brazil, through MDS, began in May 2005 when Brazilian experts went on a technical visit to South Africa, Nigeria and the United Kingdom. In 2006, representatives of Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia undertook a study tour to Brazil on conditional cash transfer programmes.
In 2007, Brazil provided the government of Ghana with technical cooperation in the design of a pilot social grants programme entitled Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP). Experts from MDS took part in three missions to Ghana involving Bolsa Família, the Single Registry for Social Programmes (CadÚnico) and the Child Labour Eradication Programme (PETI).
The Africa-Brazil Cooperation Programme on Social Protection rests on four pillars:
- Regional technical cooperation: involvement of Brazilian government representatives in regional experts meetings organized by the African Union.
- Technical cooperation: four African countries will receive technical assistance to develop social protection programmes or improve existing initiatives.
- Study tour: organisation of a visit to Brazil to enable an exchange of experiences between African and Brazilian government officials.
- Distance learning: launch of a website to disseminate the programme’s activities.
The Programme began for 18 months in March 2008. It is overseen by a Steering Committee comprising representatives of the three partners, MDS, DFID and IPC. The Steering Committee meets every three months to give guidelines to the initiative.
This cooperation is a unique learning experience for each of the parties involved. The Programme allows Brazilian and African experts to think of new ways of enhancing social protection in their countries, and to learn how to strengthen South–South cooperation.