The Portuguese Development Assistance Clusters tool in theory and in practice: cases of point from Mozambique, East Timor, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Angola


The project’s main objective is to confirm or deny whether the concept and practice of development assistance clusters (Mozambique, East Timor, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Angola) are a positive answer to the, agreed by consensus by the international community, question of how to trigger better coherence, harmonization and alignment, as stipulated in international conferences, such as the one in Paris on the effectiveness of development aid. Cooperation is a space where a number of actors with different modes of theorizing and operating are involved. This space is multi-disciplinary, complex, with dynamic interactions, and in line with the evolution of the other social spaces. A main challenge for such actors is to find partners and action-methods that to ensure a real impact on the recipients by providing sufficient resources needed for sustainable development. However, it is also necessary to be realistic and to know that the impact of aid effectiveness depends on social and political variables placed outside of the field that makes this space. The Portuguese cooperation model in the period 2005-09 is based on the design of bi-multi actions, seeking effectiveness by aggregation of different international actors. The challenge is to create theoretical knowledge with empirical confirmation that this practice is a good answer to the questions raised and to the contradictions between reality and the decisions made.

Expected results

The results of this project will be a set of recommendations supported by a scientific analysis of the innovative theory of cooperation clusters and on the methodology for their evaluation, based on current case studies in four different countries and contexts: two in the sub-continent of sub-Saharan Africa, another in a country that is a small island, and one in Asia. There will be country-specific reports developed. The research will produce 4 papers in international scientific journals and other 2 papers in national journals, and, a book with all the results and presentations. Annual reports on the research progress will be delivered. In academy, the project will support 2 PhD theses and the field work of 4 master students. By using seminars a bridge will be established with master students from universities in the area where the involved institutions are headquartered and with at least 5 researchers who will be involved in national or international conferences.

Participating Institution
  • Centro de Estudos Africanos (CEA/ISCTE)


FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia

Research team
  • Prof. Dr. Carlos Sangreman Proença (CEsA)
  • Prof. Dra. Ana Bénard da Costa (ISCTE)
  • Prof. Dr. Gerhard Seibert (ISCTE)
  • Prof. Dr. Carlos Manuel Lopes (ISCTE)
  • Msc Teresa Coelho (CEsA)