Brazil's Economics Success

Lessons for Africa – An Interview with Armando Barrientos and Ed Amann

24 January 2014

In this interview Armando Barrientos and Ed Amann give an introduction to their research project at the Brooks World Poverty Institute on the relevance of the Brazilian development model for Africa.

Brazil and other Latin American countries emerged from the period of structural adjustment and military dictatorships with a popular understanding of a social debt owed to the poorer sectors of society. Barrientos and Amann argue that this new social contract resulted in anti-poverty cash transfer programmes being rolled out in several countries across the region.

In Africa, the trend towards democracy has been slower, and expectations of the electorate from the state are much lower. People do not hold African governments responsible for poverty eradication in the same way.

Barrientos and Amann see Brazil as widely having much to offer Africa in terms of its development experience over the last 50 years. It has succeeded in developing a successful competitive industrial economy from the basis of natural endowments similar to that of many African economies.

South-South co-operation is increasingly important, and President Lula showed the way by visiting over 30 African countries during his two terms of office. The social policies of Brazil are seen as positive examples, and the economic development of Brazil shows the importance of inward investment and avoiding an over-reliance on commodities. As Brazil has developed an effective tax collection capacity—the country is able to collect taxes at a rate of around 34% of GDP—citizens now also demand something in return. An increasing number of voices call for appropriately high levels of services in health, education and housing.


00:07 Why have cash transfers caught up faster in Latin America than in Africa?

03:12 What is the aim of your Brazil - Africa project?

06:00 Do you feel that the Brazilian development experience is more relevant for Africa than those of traditional donors?

08:01 In the light of the current crisis and political upheavals, has the Brazilian model to the end of it's road?

Armando Barrientos is Professor in Poverty and Social Justice, University of Manchester; Research Director, Brooks World Poverty Institute (BWPI). Ed Amman, co-director (with Barrientos) of the DFID-funded international research project on Brazil and Africa. 

For more, see UNU-WIDER channel on Youtube. 

Find us on social media:

Twitter: UNU-WIDER Facebook: UNU-WIDER Linkedin: UNU-WIDER Youtube: UNU-WIDER Flickr: UNU-WIDER