Jurek Seifert

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Assoc. PhD Student

Institute of Development Research and Development Policy
Ruhr-University Bochum
Universitätsstr. 105, Room 2.23 / 2.24 / 2.27 / 2.32
44789 Bochum

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Phone: +49 (0)234 / 32-24860

Fax: +49 (0)234 / 32-14294

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PhD Project

Asymmetries in South-South Cooperation - Brazil as a New Development Partner in Africa

The PhD project investigates shifts in international development cooperation that are caused by the emergence of “rising powers” on the international scene – such as, for instance, the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). In the policy field of international development cooperation, these countries are categorized as “new development partners” since they have increased their cooperation programs significantly during the last two decades. The new actors distinguish themselves from the established donors of development cooperation – the members of the OECD – by classifying their technical assistance as “South-South cooperation” (SSC) and by claiming that they continue to be part of the “Global South”, i.e. that they represent the developing countries vis-à-vis the “Global North” (that is, the industrialized countries). According to the new development partners, SSC is different from its Northern counterpart since it is conducted between equal partners in a horizontal and solidary manner. The emergence of the new players has generated a discussion on whether the OECD´s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) will continue to be the central institution for international development cooperation, or whether emerging powers will become more significant.
This project examines the characteristics of South-South cooperation as a cooperation modality and analyzes the differences between SSC and the existing North-South cooperation (NSC). The main focus lays on the alleged horizontal character of SSC. Since there is a lack of research concepts and empirical data when it comes to SSC practices, this project investigates a case study. Brazil is chosen as a prominent provider of South-South cooperation and the country´s interaction with one of its most important Southern partners, Mozambique, is analyzed. As a premise, an asymmetrical relationship – in terms of economic and political power – between Brazil and Mozambique is assumed. The project asks (a) whether it is possible to carry out horizontal cooperation in this asymmetrical context and (b) whether it is possible to identify characteristics of SSC that distinguish it from North-South cooperation. A framework of how to conceptualize asymmetries in inter-state relations is developed and a methodology for investigating the (a)symmetrical character of Brazilian-Mozambican interaction is provided before presenting the empirical case study. The South-South Development cooperation between the two countries is conceptualized as a policy process with different stages of interaction and is analyzed with regard to specific “Southern” characteristics and the asymmetries of its power structures.

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Tobias Debiel


  • Seifert, Jurek/ Veloso, Sérgio (2015): "The Long Road for BRICS: Summits, South-South Cooperation and Transculturality", in: Sánchez, Yvette; Brühlweiler, Claudia Franziska: "Transculturalism and Business in the BRICS States - A Handbook", University of St. Gallen, pp. 151-170.
  • Seifert Jurek (2015): "New Asymmetries or Old Patterns? South-South Cooperation between Brazil and Angola" in: Arkhangelskaya, Alexandra et. al "The BRICS and Africa" (working title) based on contributions to the
    European Conference for African Studies (ECAS) "Africa in a Multiplar World", 27th-29th 2013, Lisbon. Forthcoming.
  • Renzio, Paolo de; Seifert, Jurek (2014): "South-South cooperation and
    the future of development assistance: mapping actors and options". In Adriana Abdenur, Thomas G. Weiss (Eds.): Emerging Powers and the UN: What Kind of Development Partnership? Third World Quarterly 35 (10), pp. 1860-1875.
  • Seifert, Jurek/ Veloso, Sérgio (2014): "The First Cycle of the BRICS Summit: A Critical Review"; in: BRICS and the Challenges in Fighting Inequality, Oxfam/ BRICS Policy Center; pp. 7-18.
  • Seifert, Jurek/ De Renzio, Paolo (2013): "Beyond the North-South Divide: Triangular Cooperation in the New Development Cooperation Landscape", BPC Policy Brief, Vol. 4, No. 4, BRICS Policy, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • De Renzio, Paolo/ Seifert Jurek/ Zoccal, Geovana Gomes/ Assunção, Manaíra (2013): "Solidarity Among Brothers? Brazil in Africa: trade, investment and cooperation", BPC Policy Brief, Vol. 3, No. 25, BRICS Policy, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • de la Fontaine, Dana/ Seifert, Jurek (2010): "The Role of South-South Cooperation in Brazilian Foreign Policy: Actors, Interests and Functions", Stockholm Papers in Latin American Studies (SPiLAS).
  • de la Fontaine, Dana/ Seifert, Jurek (2009): "Die Afrikapolitik Brasiliens: Was steckt hinter der Süd-Süd-Kooperation?", in: Mols, Manfred/ Gruber, Franziska (Hrsg.) (2009): "Afrika: Partner auf gleicher Augenhöhe oder Spielball externer Akteure?", Reihe: Weltregionen im Wandel, Band 6, Tagungsband der Weingartener Afrika-Gespräche 2008, Nomos.
  • Seifert, Jurek (2009): Brasilien: Im Spannungsfeld zwischen Integration und Selbstversorgung, in: Maihold, Günther/ Husar, Jörg (Hrsg.) (2009): Energie und Integration in Nord- und Südamerika, Verlag Barbara Budrich, Leverkusen/ Opladen

Seminars and Conferences

  • Seifert, Jurek (2015): "Asymmetries in South-South Cooperation - The case of Brazil in Mozambique"; presentation at the World Social Science Forum (WSSF) 2015 "Transforming Global Relations for a Just World"; September 13th - 16th, 2015; Durban, South Africa.
  • Seifert, Jurek (2015): "South-South Cooperation as an Alternative? The Differences between aid modalities in post-2015 development cooperation"; presentation at the Workshop "Looking Ahead: South-South Cooperation in the next Decade"; Development Studies Association (DSA); May 27th 2015; Newnham College, Cambridge.
  • Seifert, Jurek (2013): "New Asymmetries or Old Patterns? South-South Cooperation between Brazil and Angola"; presentation at the "European Conference for African Studies "(ECAS) "Africa in a Multiplar World", June 27th - 29th 2013, Lisbon.
  • Seifert, Jurek (2012): "New Development Partners & The International Aid Architecture - The cases of Brazil and India"; presentation at the 4th ECPR Graduate Conference, Jacobs University, Bremen, June 4th - 6th 2012 and at the IPSA's XXIInd World Congress of Political Science  "Reshaping Power, Shifting Boundaries" ; Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Juli 8th - 12th 2012.
  • Seifert, Jurek (2011): Brazilian Energy Policy: New Dynamics between Regional Integration and Self-Sufficiency , presentation at the ECPR-IPSA Joint Conference  "Whatever happened to North-South" , International Political Science Association, European Consortium of Political Research, São Paulo, Brazil, February16th - 19th 2011.

Research Interests

  • Emerging Economies and International Power shifts / BRICS
  • Development Cooperation Architecture / Post-2015 Agenda / New Development Partners
  • South-South Cooperation
  • Brazilian Foreign Policy