Brazil befriends Africa


Then-Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Maputo on Oct. 16, 2008.



There is lots of talk about the growing friendship between China and Brazil.

But of course, Brazil also has plenty of other friends among developing economies, including across Africa.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff visited the continent last month to discuss strengthening economic ties.

So how important are Brazil and Africa to each other? Inter-American Dialogue asked several experts. Here are highlights from what they said.

Rubens Barbosa, former Brazilian ambassador to the United States:

  • Trade between Brazil and Africa now represents about 5 percent of total Brazilian exports and imports
  • One of President Rousseff's first visits abroad was to South Africa and to the Portuguese-speaking countries of Angola and Mozambique

Riordan Roett, director of the Latin American Studies program at the Johns Hopkins:

  • Brazil, unlike most other South American countries, has had a strong diplomatic and economic presence in Africa since the 1970s
  • The Brazilian firm Odebrecht has 6,000 workers in Mozambique, 90 percent of whom are nationals. This makes Odebrecht one of the largest employers in the country 

Jorge Heine, former Chilean cabinet minister:

  • Lula visited Africa 10 times and opened 16 new embassies, for a total of 34
  • Total trade between Brazil and Africa increased from $4.2 billion in 2000 to $20.5 billion in 2010

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