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IBSA-Guinea Bissau – Boosting food self-sufficiency


South AFRICAN Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), Institute for International Trade Negotiations (ICONE), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment (CUTS-CITEE),

Country (ies):

India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA)


The project was designed to explore the current and future volume and composition of trade between India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA), while factoring the perceptions of stakeholders on trade and economic co-operation.


Aid effectiveness has emerged as an immensely important focus of developmental discourse, especially in Africa, and implementation of the Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda for Action has become a key objective of development policy in Africa. Within this context, the role of South-South cooperation has become primary in achieving some of the objectives of past agreements. In the IBSA initiative, one can highlight an important example of South-South cooperation that could provide a blueprint for future south-south partnerships in support of development. The project is based on the foreseen need to explore Africa's economic development and reduce its dependency on developed countries. This led to a venture by India Brazil and South Africa which saw the launch of IBSA in 2003. IBSA was designed to strengthen political ties amongst the three countries through strengthened economic relations. IBSA also aimed to focus on global leadership in climate change and transport.

What is IBSA's strategic objective? There are many:
o Devising strategies for complementary development
o Maintaining vibrant democracies
o Continue to show regional leadership
o Remaining committed to market economies
o Championing the 'South-South cause'
o Pursuing common agendas in multilateral institutions
o Developing concrete trilateral cooperation strategies wherever andwhenever possible

Proposed Execution of this research will be a fieldwork-based papers discussing
1. General issues
2. Crosscutting issues
3. Sector study


IBSA was established in 2003 and formalized by the signing of the Brasilia Declaration. IBSA serves as a coordinating mechanism in order to provide a coherent and cooperative force in the global arena. The three countries represent emerging and politically influential states from three developing regions of the world. It is hoped that by acting in concert, India, Brazil and South Africa can have a greater impact on international affairs and contribute to one another's development through joint projects and knowledge sharing. IBSA is funded by its members, with US$ 1 million contributed by each partner annually towards the initiative. IBSA has made commitments to collaborate across a wide variety of issues that will have a positive impact on development. Education, trade, health, information society and public administration are but a few of the areas of cooperation that fall within the remit of IBSA. The IBSA fund supports pertinent projects in these areas in other states anywhere in the developing world where projects and initiatives are identified.

IBSA in Guinea-Bissau
In Guinea-Bissau, IBSA partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture to improve agricultural yields and improve food self-sufficiency. The programme aimed to improve the country's ability to provide its own food and to assist local farmers in obtaining new skills. Agriculture is arguably one of the most important elements within poverty alleviation. Access to affordable food is a primary goal of the MDGs and in order for this to be possible farmers must be up to date on the latest farming methods. In Africa there is a historical skills shortage when it comes to agriculture and most farmers on the continent can do little more than subsistence farming due to outdated methodologies and poor access to information. The IBSA initiative in Guinea-Bissau specifically targeted 4 500 poor farmers (2 600 of whom were women) and provided training in modern farming techniques that enhanced rice, citrus fruit and mango production. The project ran from February 2006 to April 2007 and cost roughly half a million US dollars.


IBSA has shown through its activities in Guinea-Bissau that it is committed to the principles of the Paris Declaration and that even within the remit of South-South Cooperation it is not only possible to focus on skills transfer and capacity development but in fact preferable. India, Brazil and South Africa could never hope to provide Guinea-Bissau with improved food supplies without training local producers and improving local methods and to do this training and education were the only feasible option. Thus future initiatives with the same objectives should learn from the success of IBSA in Guinea-Bissau and structure aid and development projects with the same focus on skills transfer and capacity development.

Aid Effectiveness:

The Aid Effectiveness commitments were made within the context of traditional aid relationships; those where the donor country being a developed nation and part of the west. Yet through IBSA, it has been highlighted that the very same commitments and declarations can be utilized in aid relationships between countries of the global south. Despite the IBSA countries relative underdevelopment when compared with western counterparts, their relative development compared to poorer nations means that they must commit themselves to the principles of the Paris Declaration when working in places such as Guinea-Bissau. One of the key elements of the Aid Effectiveness discourse is the need for aid initiatives to be developed in a sustainable way. This entails the emphasis on skills transfer and capacity development in the target country of region so that even when that project comes to an end the lasting impact of the work done is felt and contributes to long term development. In this way the IBSA project in Guinea-Bissau was a prime example of sustainability in aid and development.

Capacity Development:

The project was structured entirely as a skills transfer initiative with poverty alleviation objectives. This falls directly within the goals of the Paris Declaration and therefore should be taken as an important guideline of the future direction of aid and development in Africa. The inclusion of public servants in the training initiative also highlights the need for projects to be structured comprehensively in order that maximum impact is felt in the target country. Providing training to all parties in the agriculture cycle ensures that farmers will receive the necessary support from public officials who are informed and aware of the challenges and needs of the farming community. The project was important for aid effectiveness discourse because it was run from start to finish by an external organisation but focused on local skills for the duration, ensuring that by the time the project ended and the IBSA team left there was a solid base for continued progress and development in the region.It is important that the IBSA initiative in Guinea-Bissau also considered gender balance. Over 50% of the project beneficiaries were women, this can be especially important in Africa, where many families are headed by a single woman. Providing them with a source of income has a greater multiplier effect on the impact of the project. It is thus important for development initiatives not only to focus on capacity development but also to ensure that skills transfer takes place in a gender balanced way. The achievement of MDGs and alleviation of poverty in Africa will require the significant upliftment of women on the continent.


One (1) year

Budget (Optional):

almost US$ 500 000

Name of Primary Contact Person:

Phathiwe Mokoena


Pretoria, South Africa