Brazil and Africa: the southern link

July 22, 2014

Claudia Valenzuela – Public Finance International, 7/22/2014

Growth, opportunity and potential have ricocheted across Brazil and the African continent in recent years. While other more mature markets are only just beginning to click into gear after the financial crisis, the economies of Brazil and Africa have enjoyed better times as a result of rising popularity with foreign investors, and burgeoning domestic markets driven by an expanding middle class and abundant natural reserves.

Africa, in particular, is picking up the pace. It’s perceived attractiveness relative to other regions has improved dramatically over the past few years, according to EY’s recent Africa attractiveness survey, moving from the third-from-last position in 2011 to become the second most attractive investment destination in the world. Its total share of global FDI projects has also reached the highest level in a decade, with investors increasingly looking across the continent and to new sectors.

An African horizon

While separated by the vast expanse of the southern Atlantic Ocean, the fact that, millions of years ago, Africa and Brazil were joined in a single landmass, and continue to share similarities in soil and climate, serves as a far more apt geographic metaphor. The increasingly close relationship between the two began during the Presidency of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who himself traveled to Africa 12 times in the 1990s, visiting 21 countries in the process. This pattern has continued under his successor, Dilma Rousseff, who, for example, visited Angola, Mozambique and South Africa during her first year in office.

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Africa: Brics Summits Make Little Progress On Science Cooperation

July 21, 2014

Fabiola Ortiz – All Africa, 7/21/2014

Scientific cooperation among the BRICS countries lags far behind its potential, according to Brazilian experts speaking after last week’s BRICS summit in Brazil.

The 6th Summit of Heads of State and of Government of BRICS – a multilateral forum of the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – held in Fortaleza and Brasília (14-16 July) has agreed to set up New Development Bank, which will emphasise social and economic inclusion.

The final declaration reinforces the commitment to strengthening cooperation in science, technology and innovation, and calls for “co-generating new knowledge and innovative products, services and processes utilising appropriate funding and investment instruments”.

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Nigeria lags behind Brazil, South Africa in telecoms investment per capita

July 21, 2014

Business Day, 7/21/2014

With more than 127 million active mobile subscriptions in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy by GDP significantly lags behind fast growing economies of Brazil and South Africa in terms of telecommunications investment per capita, industry analysts have said.

According to World Bank, Nigeria invested an estimated $6.6 billion in telecoms infrastructure from 2010 through 2012, which works out to a total of about $40 per person. Brazil, on the other hand, has a telecoms investment per capita of $167. Between 2010 and 2012, Brazil and South Africa spent about $127 and $62 more per person, respectively, on telecoms infrastructure. As at March 2014, Brazil has a mobile subscription base of 273 million.

The country has a population of 201 million people. South Africa, on the other hand, has a mobile subscription base of 59.4 million. The country has a population of about 50 million people, according to the 2013 GSM African Mobile Observatory report.

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African Students Thrive in Brazil

June 27, 2014

Nicolas Pinault – Voice of America, 6/26/2014

Brazil is not only a dream destination for soccer fans from all over the world. The emerging power is also receiving more and more students from Africa. The country is more accessible than the U.S. or Europe, and African students can find better infrastructure here than they can at home.

With almost 40,000 students, the University of Brasilia is an institution in Brazil’s capital city.  Among them are a hundred or so Africans who came to try the Brazilian adventure.  Most of them are from Angola or Cape Verde, but you also find some Francophones from Ivory Coast and Democratic Republic of Congo.

“Here you have more facilities for the students, like the library,” said Congolese student Morgan Tshipampa Nganga Mayoyi.  “Many other things you do not have at UNIKIN [University of Kinshasa]. The Brazilian government also helps the students with grants.  So we have better conditions here than in Congo.”

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Brazil-Africa: Trans-Atlantic ties

June 20, 2014

The Africa Report, 6/20/2014

Brasília Teimosa, an oceanfront settlement in the north-eastern city of Recife, is gentrifying. Rents are rising, and homes are taking on new floors and replacing their weather-beaten facades with gleaming ceramic tiles studded with aluminium doors and windows. Hotel porter Romualdo Andrade, 45, points out a series of steel street lights being installed to replace the concrete ones. They are more resistant to the salt-strewn breeze from the shark-infested ocean, he explains. “The only thing that resists the salt breeze is ugly girls,” Andrade says, laughing.

He traces the turning point to about a decade ago, when President Luiz Inácio ‘Lula’ da Silva spearheaded a four-part regeneration project that involved pulling down the least habitable of the settlement’s structures – while paying the occupants a monthly allowance to enable them to rent proper housing – and building a sea wall, roads and parks.

About five decades ago, Brasília Teimosa was a proper slum full of houses on stilts that rose out of the swamp. The Teimosa in its name means stubborn, Andrade says – a testament to the resistance its earliest inhabitants put up in the face of government attempts to demolish the slum and pave way for the reassignment of the prized land to developers of luxury apartments and hotels.

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Brazil’s development bank heads for Africa

December 5, 2013

Adam Green – Financial Times, 12/05/2013

The BNDES, Brazil’s government-owned development bank, will open its first Africa office on Friday in South Africa’s commercial capital of Johannesburg. Only the third overseas office for the Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social after Montevideo and London, it signals the ever-growing ties between Latin America’s largest economy and the world’s fastest growing continent. Its goal is simple – to push Brazilian companies deeper into Africa.

“We feel we are latecomers. We should have been in Africa for some time but now we are ready,” says Sergio Foldes, managing director of the bank’s international division. “By being close to institutions and decision makers, by being able to cover the region better, we can take better decisions.”

The move caps a decade-long strengthening of commercial and diplomatic relations. From 2000 to 2012, trade between Brazil and Africa grew from $4.9bn to $26.5bn. Africa’s share of Brazil’s international trade has doubled from 3 per cent in the 1990s to about 6 per cent today. In the diplomatic sphere, Brazil now has 37 embassies in Africa, up from 17 in 2002. And the love is reciprocated, it seems. Since 2003, 17 African embassies have opened in Brasília, adding to the 16 already there, making the Brazilian capital home to the largest concentration of African embassies in the southern hemisphere.

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Brazil’s Vale approves 2014 investment budget of $14.8 billion

December 2, 2013

Reuters, 12/02/2013

Brazilian iron ore miner Vale SA said on Monday its board approved a 2014 investment budget of $14.8 billion, with 80 percent going to develop new iron ore project and logistics.

The company said in a statement it remained committed to developing its Mozambique coal project and its Salobo copper and gold project.

After reaching a peak of $18 billion in annual investment budgets in 2011, Vale said 2014 marked the third consecutive year of declining investments as it refocuses on its core business of iron ore mining.

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Brazil to produce measles/rubella vaccine for poor countries

October 28, 2013

Reuters, 10/28/2013

Brazil´s top biomedical research and development center announced plans on Monday to produce a combined measles and rubella vaccine for developing countries, mainly in Africa.

The first Brazilian vaccine developed specifically for export will be made by Bio-Manguinhos, a unit of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Brazilian health minister Alexandre Padilha announced the vaccine plan at a medical science conference that the Gates Foundation organized in Rio de Janeiro.

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Brazil model for hunger eradication can help Egypt: FAO rep

October 7, 2013

Marwa Hussein – Ahram Online, 10/07/2013

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) launched a report last week showing that global food insecurity has decreased but remains high, with 842 million people in 2011–13 suffering from chronic hunger.

Steduto Pasquale, FAO representative in Egypt, assesses food insecurity in Egypt and various ways of mitigating against it.

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Africa in debt to Brazil: forgiveness isn’t always free

September 11, 2013

Fabiana Frayssinet – Inter Press Service, 09/10/2013

The Brazilian government projects the cancellation of nearly 900 million dollars in debt owed by a dozen African countries as a gesture of solidarity. But others simply see an aim to expand the economic and political influence of South America’s powerhouse.

The decision by the left-wing government of Dilma Rousseff, which is now being studied by Congress, will especially benefit the Republic of Congo, which owes 350 million dollars, Tanzania (237 million), and Zambia (113 million).

The other beneficiaries are Ivory Coast, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Guinea, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal and Sudan.

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