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Alessandra Fontana

Discussion Paper

‘Opening the Books’: Brazil’s Experience with Debt Audits

by Alessandra Fontana

18 November 2005

Yes, debt audits work! Brazil managed to reduce its foreign debt stock by half after a debt audit initiated by the government of Getúlio Vargas in 1943. As of today, this is one of, if not, ‘the’ most successful experience in terms of achieving actual debt cancellation as a result of an auditing process (see page 06 for an account of the Vargas’ debt audit).

However Brazil has engaged in other audit efforts more recently. It is on these more recent efforts that this report focuses.

Eurodad has produced this report on the Brazilian civil society debt audit initiated in 2000 in the belief that knowledge sharing on such efforts is crucial for debt campaigners. Even though it is still too early to measure whether this civil society debt audit will actually push the Brazilian government to produce its official parliamentary version, we believe there is a lot to learn from the Brazilian case. Eurodad’s objective is to share this experience to inform eventual similar attempts.

The lessons learned in Brazil might help other countries design similar processes. Eurodad welcomes feedback on this document.

Alessandra Fontana,
Eurodad - European Network on Debt and Development.

Download the document on the EURODAD website:

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