The idea was born at an international conference in Mexico in 2004. Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Chile and Nicaragua joined together to sponsor a new proposal: allow debtor nations to convert part of their foreign debt into spending on education domestically.
For the first time, at the beginning of this year, a creditor nation accepted the proposal: Argentina will be permitted to use 60 million euros it owes Spain for educational programs in Argentina.
Brazil would like to do the same. So, this week minister of Education, Tarso Genro, will inaugurate a committee to study ways to convert part of Brazil’s foreign debt into spending on education.
The committee (Comitê Social da Conversão da Dívida por Educação) will consist of representatives of 60 social action organizations, members of the Council for Economic and Social Development and delegates from university economics departments.
According to the deputy executive secretary of the Ministry of Education, Jairo Jorge, a fund will be set up for investments in education.
“Instead of Brazil paying its debt in full, part of the money will go into the fund and be spent on educational projects,” he explained.
At the moment, Brazil is discussing the idea with the Paris Club (creditor nations) where Brazil has a debt of around US$ 12.5 billion (30 billion reais).
The total Brazilian foreign debt at the moment is US$ 204.1 billion (486.8 billion reais), of which approximately 24% could be converted under the plan to spending on education.
ABr – www.radiobras.gov.br