May 2, 2013
John Campbell – The Christian Science Monitor, 05/01/2013
Brazil is negotiating an agreement with Mozambique to finance the construction of a dam to provide drinking water for the city of Maputo, according to local news sources. It is expected to cost $500 million and the Bank of Brazil has funded an environmental impact study for the project.
With a population approaching two million and growing rapidly, Maputo needs an assured water supply. A successful agreement between Brazil and Mozambique means that construction on the dam could start as early as 2014.
The dam – known as Moamba Major – highlights Brazil’s expanded engagement in Africa. In November 2012, British think tank Chatham House published a highly useful briefing paper on Brazil’s growing role on the continent. It highlights Brazil’s African economic interests – notably, its trade with Africa has increased from $4.2 billion to $27.6 billion over the past decade. Africa is potentially an important export market for Brazilian manufactured goods.
August 10, 2012
Each Friday, through the Brazil Portal feature “The Week in Review”, the Brazil Institute will highlight Brazil’s news topics in one concise summary.
Photo credit: Theseoduke
In the past decade, the world has had its eyes on Brazil as an emerging nation with an incredible ability to lift millions out of poverty; but while poverty eradication has promoted incredible benefits for society at large, the financial freedom of the emergent middle class has caused an influx of drugs into Brazil, thus indirectly causing Brazil’s security apparatus to become increasingly vulnerable. With these concerns in mind, Brazil launched a series of security maneuvers this week to maintain surveillance of criminal activities at Brazil’s international borders to uphold public health and safety. Likewise, the surveillance hopes to oversee illegal activities in Amazons such as illegal mining or logging and other threats from within Brazil.
These security maneuvers go hand in hand with preparation for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics as Brazil hopes to increase surveillance of its notorious favelas to promote a better image for Brazil. In addition its contentious slum-cleaning initiatives in preparation of the games, Brazil is already spending billions on infrastructural developments to allow easy travel for the thousands of spectators coming to the games. However, there are doubts about Brazil’s ability to adapt their transit in time for the games: with only 22 months left to develop a fluid system of public transportation, there has yet to be a decision whether Cuiabá, a city hosting several of the World Cup games, will build a bus or rail system.
Brazil has even been expanding development past its national boundaries and has announced major investments in Africa. This week, Brazil announced with Nigeria its commitment to invest in roads, airports, and energy production amongst other areas of development. To address Angola’s famine, the Brazilian government is investing in food security initiatives and humanitarian relief projects. Brazil is also investing in Kenya to improve its urban transportation systems and in Mozambique to fund AIDS antiviral drug plants, thus signaling moments of enhanced Brazilian-African relations, and highlights Brazil’s African pride as a an extremely ethnic nation with a large population of people of African descent.
Acknowledgement of Brazil’s multiracial background has recently triggered Brazil to legislate an affirmative action bill for federal universities. The bill, which passed Brazil’s Senate August 7, reserves spots in federal universities to ensure multiracial representation in the student bodies. On August 6, Brazilian sociologist Simon Schwartzman commented on the proposed system of equal-pay for Brazilian professors at federal universities, and argued that failing to honor merit-based teaching would dissolve the integrity of federal universities. Nevertheless, Brazil’s university system seems to be preforming well, as Brazil’s University of Sao Paulo ranked at the top of the list for Latin American universities this year.
August 8, 2012
Simon Romero – The New York Times, 08/07/2012
In Mozambique, Brazil’s government isopening a plant making antiretroviral drugs to fight the AIDS epidemic. Brazil is lending $150 million to Kenya to build roads and ease congestion in the capital, Nairobi. And in Angola, West Africa’s rising oil power, a new security agreement seeks to expand the training of Angolan military personnel in Brazil.
Brazil, which has more people of African descent than any other country outside of Africa itself, is assertively raising its profile again on the continent, building on historical ties from the time of the Portuguese empire.
The array of aid projects and loans recently extended to African countries points both to Brazil’s ambitions of projecting greater influence in the developing world and to the expanding business allure of Africa, where some economies are rapidly growing even as parts of the continent still grapple with wars and famine. The charm offensive is paying off in surging trade flows between Brazil and Africa, growing to $27.6 billion in 2011 from $4.3 billion in 2002.
June 11, 2012
Nikolas Kozloff – Al Jazeera, 06/10/2012
New York, NY - Behind the scenes, US diplomats are reportedly becoming very leery about Brazil’s rise on the world stage. An exporting dynamo with a growing middle class, Brazil has recently sought a greater role in global affairs and is discombobulating Washington in the process. Classified US diplomatic cables recently disclosed by whistle-blowing outfit WikiLeaks underscore such geopolitical tensions.
In Lima, for instance, US ambassador to Peru Curtis Struble wrote that Washington was enmeshed in an “undeclared contest” with Brazil for political influence in the Andean region. Back in the US meanwhile, right-wing hawks at the Brookings Institution view Brazil’s rise with trepidation, remarking gloomily that the country “appears determined to position itself as the Latin American hegemon as it deepens its investment in various schemes of regional political and economic integration that pointedly exclude the United States”.
Whatever its long term reservations about Brazil, however, Washington has apparently come round to the view that it needs the South American nation’s help in the here and now. Speaking at the Brazilian War College in Rio de Janeiro recently, US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta remarked, “This is a relationship, the United States and Brazil… between two global powers, and we welcome Brazil’s growing strength. We support Brazil as a global leader, and seek closer defence cooperation because we believe that a stronger and more globally engaged Brazil will help enhance international security for all of us.”
May 8, 2012
Fabiola Ortiz – AllAfrica, 05/07/2012
The Brazilian government of Dilma Rousseff is taking firm steps towards stronger relations with Africa, such as the creation of a special fund to finance development projects together with multilateral lenders like the World Bank.
South America’s giant is keen on establishing a strategic association with Africa, and the tool for doing that is its powerful national development bank, the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES), which will work in conjunction with the multilateral African Development Bank (AfDB).
“There is a 40-billion-dollar shortfall in financing for a spate of 50 projects, which means the African Development Bank will have to scale up its capital and its activities,” said BNDES president Luciano Coutinho. He added that not only public bodies need to be involved in this cooperation, but also private banks in the capital markets.
May 4, 2012
Diana Kinch – Market Watch/The Wall Street Journal, 05/03/2012
Economic and political ties with African countries have become “strategic” for Brazil, Fernando Pimentel, the country’s development, trade and industry minister said Thursday.
Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva recognized the importance of forging closer links with Africa, and current President Dilma Rousseff has visited Africa to cement ties, Pimentel said during a seminar on investment opportunities in Africa in Rio de Janeiro.
In Africa, Mozambique currently attracts the most Brazilian investment, with mining company Vale SA (VALE, VALE5.BR) planning to spend about $8.2 billion in coal mining and rail facilities, while Ghana is another important investment destination for Brazilian capital, Pimentel said.
December 20, 2011
The World Bank, 12/14/2011
A new report released in Brazil by the World Bank and the Brazilian think-tank, Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA), says that trade, private investment, and other forms of economic cooperation between Sub-Saharan Africa and Brazil have surged significantly over the last decade, with trade earnings alone between the two now in excess of US$20 billion and rising. Brazil’s private investment in Sub-Saharan Africa is also growing quickly, especially in key strategic areas such as infrastructure, energy and mining.
According to the new report―Bridging the Atlantic, Brazil and Sub-Saharan Africa: Partnering for Growth―’the new Africa coincides with the global Brazil’ at a time of dramatic global change, with a deep economic crisis in the North, a fast-changing financial architecture, with middle-income and emerging economic performers increasingly exerting their influence on key global decisions.
The report describes how Brazil and Africa have strong historic and cultural links and similar climatic conditions. Once connected through the transatlantic slave trade, more than 200 years ago, they are now forging strong partnerships through knowledge sharing, trade and investments. Brazil has the largest African Diaspora after Nigeria. More than 50% of Brazilians are of African descent. Since 2002, during President Lula’s mandate, the Brazilian government has continuously confirmed Brazil’s interest in contributing to the development of its continental neighbor.
November 18, 2011
Stuart Grudgings – Reuters, 11/17/2011
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (L) is welcomed by South African President Jacob Zuma before the start of the fifth India-Brazil-South Africa summit (IBSA) in Pretoria, October 18 2011. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
Brazil is launching a top-level drive to expand its economic ties with Africa, a sign of how crises in the rich world are pushing faster-growing emerging economies to trade and invest among themselves.
The new initiative, ordered by President Dilma Rousseff after her three-country trip to Africa last month, comes as nervousness grows in Brazil over the impact in the coming months of Europe’s debt crisis and lurch toward recession.
Europe’s woes, combined with anemic growth in the United States, are already dampening demand for Brazilian exports and will make it more difficult for Brazil to rebound from disappointing growth of around 3-4 percent this year.
October 28, 2011
Johnathan Glennie – Guardian, 10/28/2011
Brazil's formative role in the World Social Forum, which began in Porto Alegre in 2001, speaks of a desire to shape global debate. Photograph: Jefferson Bernardes/AFP
It is a good time to be a Brazilian on the international stage. Brazil has the eighth largest economy in the world, and the “traditional donors” want to know what the country is thinking. In fact, with an aid programme of under $1bn (according to official estimates), it commands far more interest than it probably should. Why? Because Brazil is the future. When leaders in poor countries sit down to plan their way out of poverty, they don’t look to emulate Britain. They say: “We want to be an emerging economy, like Brazil.”
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Economic Survey of Brazil, which was published on Wednesday, confirms this advance in terms of economic growth and poverty reduction (although the much-lauded reduction in inequality can be overstated, coming as it does in one of the world’s most unequal countries).
In the space of a decade, Brazil has transformed its international presence. Its international development strategy is part of that. According to This is Africa, trade between Brazil and Africa has grown from $5bn in 2003 to more than $20bn in 2010 (over a third of which is with one country, Nigeria). President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, whose vision defined this bold declaration of international relevance, established 17 new embassies in Africa and visited 23 countries on the continent.
November 10, 2010
Charlotte Plantive – AFP, 11/09/2010
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva began a two-day visit to Mozambique on Tuesday, focusing on education and health care in his last trip to Africa before leaving office.
Lula, who hands over the reins to protege Dilma Rousseff on January 1, has made Africa a foreign policy priority during his presidency, in particular building Brazil’s relationship with fellow former Portuguese colony Mozambique.
Delivering the inaugural lecture in a new distance learning programme at Mozambique’s national teachers’ university, Lula said Brazil owes a historical debt to Africa.
“When we decided to prioritise our relationship with the African continent, and with African Portuguese-speaking countries in particular, we had some reasons,” Lula said.