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«Policy Brief - V. 4 N. 65 Policy Brief Solidarity Among Brothers? Brazil in Africa: trade, investment and cooperation Solidarity Among Brothers? ...»

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February, 2014

BPC Policy Brief - V. 4 N. 65

Policy Brief

Solidarity Among Brothers?

Brazil in Africa: trade,

investment and cooperation

Solidarity Among Brothers?

Brazil in Africa: trade,

investment and cooperation

Policy Brief

February, 2014

BPC Policy Brief - V.4 N.65



Pe. Josafá Carlos de Siqueira SJ


Pe. Francisco Ivern Simó SJ


Prof. José Ricardo Bergmann


Prof. Luiz Carlos Scavarda do Carmo


Prof. Augusto Luiz Duarte Lopes Sampaio


Pe. Francisco Ivern Simó SJ DEANS Prof. Luiz Alencar Reis da Silva Mello Prof. Luiz Roberto A. Cunha Prof. Hilton Augusto Koch City of Rio de Janeiro MAYOR Eduardo Paes


Pedro Paulo Carvalho Teixeira


Eduarda La Rocque About the BRICS Policy Center The BRICS Policy Center / Centro de Estudos e Pesquisas BRICS is a joint initiative of the City of Rio de Janeiro and the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio).

The Center is dedicated to the study of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and other middle powers, and is administered by the Institute of International Relations at PUC-Rio (IRI), in collaboration with the Instituto Pereira Passos (IPP).

BPC Team South South Cooperation Team


Paulo Luiz Moreaux Lavigne Esteves Paulo Esteves Adriana Erthal Abdenur


Geovana Zoccal Gomes


João Moura Estevão M. da Fonseca Monica Herz


Lia Frota e Lopes Aurélie Delater Isabelle Neves RESEARCHERS Amanda Gagliardi Adriana Erthal Abdenur Ana Saggioro Garcia Carlo Patti DESIGN AND PUBLICATION João Pontes Nogueira Sérgio Veloso Leane Cornet Naidin Thalyta Gomes Ferraz Luis Manuel Fernandes Vinicius Kede Paolo De Renzio Paulo Wrobel Sérgio Veloso


Bruna Risieri Sobre os autores BRICS Polic

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Introduction: The acceleration of the Brazilian insertion in Africa

The growth of trade between Brazil and Africa...............

Brazilian businesses in Africa

Brazilian cooperation for the development of Africa.......

The future of Brazil-Africa relations?

Executive Summary South-South cooperation (SSC) emerged as a key Brazilian foreign policy instrument in the beginning of Lula’s presidency in 2003 and has generally been sustained by the government of President Dilma Rousseff. From the beginning, Brazil has emphasized SSC in Africa despite not having articulated an explicit foreign policy towards the region. The reconfiguration of Brazil’s international relations, shifting towards an emphasis on the African continent over the past decade has manifested itself in increased trade and a growing presence of Brazilian businesses on the continent, both of which have occurred alongside development cooperation. While development cooperation has been highlighted as a ‘horizontal’ approach based on ‘solidarity’, the economic interaction between Brazil and its African partners appears to be based on other motivations and practices. This Policy Brief discusses the different strands of Brazilian intervention in Africa, noting some specific challenges and contradictions, and highlighting the necessity of opening a debate regarding the reform of the institutional and regulatory framework guiding such intervention, in order to guarantee better coherence and efficacy of Brazilian foreign policy in the region.

Sumário Executivo

A Cooperação Sul-Sul (CSS) vem gradualmente ascendendo na agenda internacional brasileira. Entendida como cooperação entre países em desenvolvimento, recebeu impulso a partir da administração Lula, evidenciado no grande número de acordos assinados entre o Brasil e países africanos e consequente aumento do número de projetos de cooperação técnica implementados. Conquanto não haja uma “estratégia para a África”, uma ênfase no continente africano parece se delinear, refletindo tanto discussões sobre desenvolvimento em foros internacionais como dinâmicas comerciais e diplomáticas de outros países emergentes como China e Índia. A reconfiguração das relações internacionais brasileiras em direção à África manifesta-se no grande número de embaixadas abertas, atuação empresarial, investimento direto externo, comércio e cooperação internacional para o desenvolvimento no continente africano. Neste Policy Brief, buscaremos desenhar um quadro da cooperação Sul-Sul do Brasil na África no período recente, destacando a dimensão técnica e a econômica dessa cooperação.


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Introduction: The acceleration of the Brazilian insertion in Africa Due to its historic ties and shared colonial past, Brazil has traditionally maintained a strong relationship with Africa, principally the Portuguese-speaking countries in the region. With the advent of African decolonization following the Second World War, relations between Brazil and African countries have grown more intense and more relevant. This dynamic formally began after 1974 with the fall of Portugal’s colonial regime. In 2003 during the beginning of the Lula government, an increase in interaction between Brazil and Africa was not only promoted by the incumbent president and his “presidential diplomacy”, but also evident in the expanded volume of trade, political dialogue, and cooperation between the two parties.

The Brazilian presence on the continent (whether through businesses, government bodies, or public-private partnerships) developed with the goal of promoting major social and economic development in African countries through the exchange of successful experiences, increased trade and cultural initiatives, increased diplomacy, and the export of technical knowledge in areas such as agriculture and health. At the same time, the growing relationship between Brazil and Africa was guided by the former’s desire to increase its international presence, a theme characteristic of Brazil’s diplomacy during the period1. The personal engagement of the president and his emphasis on South-South cooperation as a form of horizontal cooperation gave origin to what has been termed the “diplomacy of solidarity”2 in the foreign policy of Brazil – with a specific focus on African countries.

Since the beginning of her term in 2011, the current president Dilma Rousseff has not demonstrated the same personal engagement in Brazil’s relations with Africa as former president Lula. After her first visit to the region in October of 2011 (visiting South Africa, Mozambique, and Angola), President Dilma did not return to the continent for more than a year, when in February of 2013 she travelled to the South America-Africa summit in Equatorial Guinea (she also visited Nigeria). In March, she was at the BRICS Summit in Durban, South Africa, and in May she traveled to Ethiopia to participate in the ceremony celebrating the 50th year anniversary of the African Union. Although these trips may be interpreted as a significant increase in the president’s attention to Africa, there remains a noticeable 1 Saraiva, J. F. S. (2010) The new Africa and Brazil in the Lula era: the rebirth of Brazilian Atlantic Policy. Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional, v. 53, n. spe, p. 169-182.

2 Inoue, C. Y. A. e A. C. Vaz (2012): Brazil as ‘Southern donor’: beyond hierarchy and national interests in development cooperation? Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 25 (4), pp. 507–534.

Solidarity Among Brothers? Brazil in Africa: trade, investment and cooperation pragmatism in the president’s treatment of the African continent relative to her predecessor. While this may be attributed to Dilma’s personal preferences, which emphasize domestic politics, it is also true that promises made by Lula to his African partners represent a significant challenge relative to resources currently available for cooperation. Nonetheless, Dilma maintains the same discourse of South-South cooperation established by the Lula government, highlighting the importance of Africa

as an equal partner of Brazilian foreign policy:

Brazil sees the African continent as a brother and close neighbor (…) Our mutual interests are many: we seek development, which requires the promotion of inclusion of our population to the benefits and riches of our countries.3 Simultaneously, however, President Dilma has continued to encourage Brazilian businesses to increase their presence in Africa. During the same visit to Ethiopia, the president also announced debt forgiveness of US$ 897.7 million for 12 African countries4. Although this debt forgiveness was titled as an act of solidarity, it has been criticized for its trade and investment related motivations.

Brazil’s National Bank for Social and Economic Development (BNDES), it was noted, can only support corporate action in countries that do not have debts with the Brazilian government.

1. The growth of trade between Brazil and Africa As a consequence of Brazil’s foreign policy emphasis on Africa, trade between Brazil and the African continent grew consistently over the past decade. According to the think tank Chatham House, the volume of trade grew from US$ 4.2 billion in 2001 to US$ 27.6 billion in 2011, with a rate of growth of 16% per year since 19905. This growth led Brazil to become the third largest trading partner among the BRICS, after China (with a volume of US$ 107 billion) and India (US$ 32 billion) and ahead of Russia (with only US$ 3.5 billion)6.

In Africa, the most important partner countries are Nigeria (with 32% of the volume of trade in 2009), Angola (16%), Algeria (12%), and South Africa (7%)7. In terms of the total volume of trade, however, Africa continues to be an average partner for Brazil. Exports to the region varied between 4% and 5.7% of total Brazilian exports in the past decade and imports between 5.7% and 9.8% of the total8. More than half of total exports from Brazil to Africa are manufactured products. The primary products exported are sugars and confectionery (26.4% in 2008/10) and meats (12.2%), although exports of capital goods (machines and equipment, buses, trucks and light commercial vehicles) have also seen a significant increase over the past decade. Imports to Brazil from Africa are largely composed of primary commodities, of which the largest share (85.4% of total imports in 2008/10) is composed of mineral fuels.

3 http://noticias.band.uol.com.br/mundo/noticia/?id=100000601265&t= 4 Congo, Tanzania, Zambia, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Mauritania, Sudan, São Tomé e Príncipe and Guinea-Bissau. With Angola and Moçambique, two of the most important partners for Brazil in the region, separate agréments were signed: forgiveness of US$ 315 million in debt for the Angolan government, and of US$ 330 million for Mozambique.

5 Stolte, C. (2012): Brazil in Africa: Just Another BRICS Country Seeking Resources? Briefing Paper.

6 Barka, H. B. (2011): Brazil´s Economic Engagement with Africa. Africa Economic Brief No.5. Tunis: African Development Bank.

7 Barka (2011): Brazil´s Economic Engagement with Africa.

8 MRE (2012): Comércio Brasil - África.

Solidarity Among Brothers? Brazil in Africa: trade, investment and cooperation

–  –  –

This data demonstrates the disequilibrium that exists in the commercial agenda between the two parties and, at the same time, how Brazil has continually increased its relevance as an economic actor in Africa over the past decade, thereby increasing its economic influence in the region.

2. Brazilian businesses in Africa An important part of the changes in the economic relations between Brazil and Africa, particularly since 2003, is related to the internationalization of Brazilian businesses. Although the presence of the Brazilian private sector in Africa has existed since the 1980s, the second phase of insertion of major corporations on the continent over the past decade stemmed largely from the growth of African economies and the relationship between demand for both raw materials and the infrastructure necessary for their extraction10. Generally, there are two types of Brazilian companies in Africa: the first includes some of the largest corporations of the Brazilian economy, and the second small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who have gone to Africa more recently11.

The large corporations (Petrobras, Andrade Gutierrez, Vale do Rio Doce, Camargo Correia, and Odebrecht) are the dominant actors of Brazilian investment in Africa. Smaller investments aimed at African consumer markets, however, are incipient and involve SMEs like Marcopolo (Egypt and South Africa), Boticário and Nobel (both in Angola). In total, Brazilian companies operate in 22 African countries.

There does not appear to be a strategy of clear localization when comparing commercial flows and investment: cases in which high investment is coupled with low trade exist alongside others with reasonable trade volumes but without the presence of Brazilian businesses. There is a clear concentration of investment in Southern Africa, where three countries are highlighted as the primary destination of Brazilian companies: South Africa, Angola, and Mozambique. In terms of the public’s perception of Brazilian companies, there is recognition that they tend to use local labor, such as with 9 MRE (2012) Comércio Brasil – África. Brasilia: Ministério das Relações Exteriores. Disponível em: http://www.


10 Iglesias e Costa (2011).

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