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Brazil and Sub-Saharan Africa Pursue Steadily Stronger Economic and Political Ties: New Report

December 14, 2011

BRASILIA, December 14,2011 – A new report released in Brazil bythe World Bank and the Brazilian think-tank, Institute for Applied EconomicResearch (IPEA), says that trade, private investment, and other forms ofeconomic cooperation between Sub-Saharan Africa and Brazil have surgedsignificantly over the last decade, with trade earnings alone between the twonow in excess of US$20 billion and rising. Brazil’s private investment in Sub-SaharanAfrica is also growing quickly, especially in key strategic areas such asinfrastructure, energy and mining.

According to the newreport―Bridging the Atlantic, Brazil and Sub-Saharan Africa: Partneringfor Growth―’the new Africa coincides with the global Brazil’ at a time ofdramatic global change, with a deep economic crisis in the North, afast-changing financial architecture, with middle-income and emerging economicperformers increasingly exerting their influence on key global decisions.  

The report describes howBrazil and Africa have strong historic and cultural links and similar climaticconditions. Once connected through the transatlantic slave trade, more than 200years ago, they are now forging strong partnerships through knowledge sharing,trade and investments.  Brazil has the largestAfrican Diaspora after Nigeria. More than 50% of Brazilians are of Africandescent.  Since 2002, duringPresident Lula’s mandate, the Brazilian government has continuously confirmedBrazil’s interest in contributing to the development of its continentalneighbor.

Brazil and Africaare natural partners, with emerging economies playing a bigger role in theglobal agenda and new South-South arrangements becoming stronger, thetraditional model of ‘development cooperation’ is being questioned,” saysthe World Bank’s Vice President for Africa,  Obiageli Ezekwesili, whoseregional team co-authored the new report. “This model of aid based on the‘developed North’ providing aid to the ‘developing South’ is no longer valid.So this report gives us a strong knowledge that will enable us, Africangovernments, and the Brazilian government to continue to forge concretepartnerships that will generate winning results for both regions.”

Brazil’s economicgrowth, its success in narrowing social inequality and its development experienceoffer lessons for African countries. Brazil has now 37 Embassies in Africacompared to 17 in 2002. Equally, Brasilia, hosts the largest number of AfricanEmbassies in the southern hemisphere; 17 are newly open adding to the 16already there.  In 2010, 57.2% ofBrazilian investments in international development projects went to Africa, thelargest recipient, followed by Latin America with 37.4%. 

"Brazil’scommitment to Africa is unwavering. Not even ten months into her term PresidentDilma Rousseff has already set foot on the continent, having already visitedAngola, Mozambique and South Africa in October. Brazil’s model of cooperationwith Africa – one that is based on mutual respect and recognition of localneeds – is not only good for Africa and for Brazil. It may well serve as amodel for other countries and regions in the developing world. In a time whenmost of the rich world is mired in their own economic problems, developingcountries must be both creative and proactive in order to find their way out ofpoverty," says His Excellency MauroVieira, Ambassador of Brazil to the United States.

Trade between Brazil andAfrica increased from US$2 billion in 2000 to US$12 billion in 2010. There arestill constraints in transport (both maritime and air), telecommunications andflow of information among others that contribute to keeping trade volumeslimited. However, it is expected that this will change in the short and mediumterm as African economies continue to grow.  Brazilian firms have been present in Africa since the 1980’sespecially in Lusophone countries. Now, they are present in Anglophone andFrancophone countries investing in infrastructure, mining, oil and energy.Brazilian SME’s are targeting the developing middle class markets.  Bigger companies are diversifying its areas ofoperation.

This south-southcooperation between Brazil and Africa, based on knowledge sharing, trade andinvestment, brings important lessons to the World Bank, whose recently approvedStrategy for Africa highlights south-south partnerships as a key tool forimplementing the new strategy. 

Media Contacts
In Washington
Aby Toure
Tel : (202) 473 8302
In Brasilia
Mauro Azeredo
Tel : (55 61) 3329 1059