IBRAF Fellowship Program Actively Engages Researchers with International Cooperation.
By João Paulo Alves*
The Brazil Africa Institute (IBRAF) is currently hosting the first cohort of the IBRAF Fellowship Program on South-South and Triangular Cooperation (IFP). The IFP is an academic project that allows researchers from different countries to engage with each other and interact with specialists in the field of South-South and Triangular Cooperation. From February to September 2021, 10 researchers from 8 different countries (Brazil, Argentina, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Mozambique and Senegal) are producing studies on the importance of international cooperation in multiple areas.
Brazil has been a key promoter of South-South and Triangular Cooperation in recent decades, attracting much attention for its several projects within Latin America and the Caribbean and with Africa in agriculture, industry, health, education and other fields. The IFP focuses on key areas that are important for international cooperation, and in which one can see strong linkages in the promotion of international change: (i) technical and scientific cooperation; (ii) economic and sustainable development; (iii) trade and investments across the South-Atlantic; (iv) agriculture, agri-business and rural development; and (v) demography, urbanization, housing and public health.
The IFP is formed by a faculty of high-level leaders, such as Dr. Adriana Abdenur, Founder and Executive Director of Plataforma CIPÓ, Dr. Frannie Leautier, CEO of SouthBridge Investments, Dr. Pedro Almeida, Independent scholar and former Head of Basic & Infrastructure Industries, World Economic Forum, Dr. Kapil Kapoor, CEO of Developex, and Dr. Martin Fregene, Director of Agriculture and Agroindustry at the AfDB.
IBRAF supports each of these researchers throughout a six-week period, in which they have contact with academic institutions, international organizations and multiple specialists, including former directors of international organizations and former ministers. The researchers are constantly engaged with specialists in their areas of interest, having space for conversations and interviews that contribute to provide them with international perspectives. Research topics vary from agriculture 4.0, to supply-chain finance, health cooperation, dairy industry, forests conservation and trade and investments facilitation.
Fellows also have the opportunity to engage in exclusive lectures, come face-to-face with high-level authorities, listen to their insights and dialogue with them. IFP lecturers include Ambassador Celso Amorim, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and of Defense of Brazil, Ambassador Sarah Agbor, Commissioner of Human Resources, Science and Technology at the African Union, Dr. Jennifer Blanke, Non-Executive Director at African Risk Capacity and Ambassador Ruy Pereira, General Director of the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC).
The programme has counted on the close collaboration with UNOSSC and the South-South Galaxy platform. UNOSSC has been an important partner of the IFP, by making the South-South Galaxy Experts database available and facilitating connections with various stakeholders. The South-South Galaxy team has also provided a workshop to inform and engage visiting fellows on the platform, showing them how to take advantage of the content provided, as well as how to contribute to the platform’s development.
Fellows are also encouraged to identify and study South-South and Triangular Cooperation good practices and projects within their research areas, contributing to the expansion of the South-South Galaxy Solutions database. By mapping these initiatives, they can collaborate to raise awareness about the history and current development of international cooperation, their results and potential scalability, drawing on useful lessons for new interventions.
The IFP ultimately aims at strengthening the agenda of South-South and Triangular Cooperation, shedding light over its accomplishments, within the scope of scientific evidence, and providing policy makers and academics with useful insights on relevant themes. The IFP research fellows will become champions and active voices in the advocacy for South-South and triangular cooperation, taking foward these learnings for when they become the leaders of the future.
*Projects Coordinator, Brazil Africa Institute (IBRAF)