Brazil and Africa: Bridging the Atlantic


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Linked in the distant past through colonial-era trade enterprises, Brazil and Africa are becoming close partners again. More than two centuries after establishing a slave trade route across the Atlantic, both regions are again re-engaging, this time to exchange knowledge and further economic and social development.

Sub-Saharan African countries are looking to replicate Brazil’s successes in boosting agricultural production and exports, and private investments, which have made Brazil a key economic player in the international arena. This is no coincidence. The world is going though rapid changes, resulting in a new financial architecture, with emerging economies and countries in the South increasingly participating and influencing global decisions.

South-south partnerships for development and growth are becoming more the norm than the exception, challenging the traditional approach to development cooperation based on “aid” form the North to the South.

Our report “Bridging the Atlantic: Brazil and Sub-Saharan Africa, South-South Partnering for Growth”, shows how south-south partnerships are effectively being forged by the two sides of the Atlantic, once united by the transatlantic slave trade. Knowledge exchange, trade and investments are the areas in which Sub-Saharan African countries and Brazil are building ties, highlights the report.

The emergence of Brazil as one of the world’s largest economies and its successes on several fronts attracted the attention of Sub-Saharan African countries. In less than 10 years, Brazil decreased social inequality by lifting 20 million Brazilians out of poverty into a middle class with access to formal jobs, health and education. The country is now one of the largest exporters of agricultural and food products like soya, coffee, sugar, chicken and meat.

In tropical medicine, Brazil is recognized worldwide by its advances in developing generic pharmaceuticals for combating HIV/AIDS and other tropical diseases. Sub-Saharan African countries are increasingly approaching Brazil to learn from these successes and the Amazon giant is willing to share them.

Brazil now has knowledge partnerships with 25 Sub-Saharan African countries. According to the report, trade between Brazil and Africa increased from US$2 billion to US$10 billion between 2000 and 2010. Brazilian investments in Africa are also increasing, with private sector companies active in infrastructure, mining, energy and agriculture. Traditionally present in Lusophone African, firms are now operating in Anglophone and Francophone countries as well.

Brazilian and African governments are working together to increase investments from Brazilian small and medium enterprises (SMEs). There are important challenges remaining to make investments flourish.

For example, information in Brazil about Africa and vice versa is still limited and telecommunication costs remain high compared to the United States and Europe, mainly due to monopolies. Maritime and air transport is not frequent enough and routes are still not direct. A cargo ship departing from a major Brazilian port like Rio de Janeiro or Santos, to Bissau should take 10 days but currently it takes 80 days due to bureaucracy and indirect routes. Flying from Brazil to Africa usually takes 30 hours connecting through Europe. A direct flight from Dakar to Recife in the north of Brazil would take three hours and five to Rio de Janeiro.

In 2013, a submarine cable of approximately 12,800 gigabytes will connect the south of Africa with the north of Brazil. This will improve Internet connections and hopefully the flow of information between business communities from the two sides. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has stated that Africa remains a priority for Brazil as well as Latin America. With African economies growing, more democratic regimes in power and fewer conflicts, the future for Brazilian and African partnerships remains positive.


Susana Carrillo

Senior Specialist at the Capacity Development and Partnerships Unit in the Africa Region

December 19, 2011

Interesting article worth reading.
December 24, 2011

Many thanks to the Brazilians and their government. My country Uganda has a lot to learn from you economic, social & political policies. We will be delight to connect with you.

Stefan mama
December 22, 2011


nkumbijoh dominique
December 26, 2011

the very expressions of our relief and ecosystems speak of our fraternity. the colour of our skin tellus who we are. the state of our hairs whisper our racial affiliation.
i amm happy to see our economies merging through business partnerships,what nature through cintinental driftings did put apart.
but i have one regret; we may be identical or twin-like in all but we have become the antonyms of one another by the type of governents we have and the type of political ideology that animates our institutions.
Africa is the other twin whose aptitude is buried in the caves of laxity and institutional confiscations. let the twins address their differences and then bind their strengths for a better world

December 30, 2011

its a great opportunity for both country because of they have a vast natural resource in agricultural and green land observation

Iba Kone
December 30, 2011

1. Before the drift of continents, the south american sub-continent was united with Africa. Hence some commonality if fauna and flora.

2. The sub-continent was firstly discovered by the navigators Mandingo (Empire of Mali) before Christopher Colombo who in his memoirs recognized having met people of black stock on the shore of the sea

3. Slavery has added a big genetic and religious distribution and today there are more cross-breed Brazilian than Caucasian.

4. These are few commonalities that warrant to see Brazil as the new expansion of Africa contrary to the northern American where African stock is a minority without any hope of expansion. Though we are all proud of President B. H Obama. But one tree can't constitute a forest.

December 29, 2011

Huum Africa And Brazil products in agriculture cant be much diferent. Tropical products. So at that point i dunno if its could be a nice thing ,but thinking here , would be nice if Brazil and Africa + some countries = Economic Agreement =D
I think all of us can win something with that ^^

Amare Seifu Bedassa
December 29, 2011

I appreciate the trade partnership of Brazil to my country Ethiopia. Let us benefit our citizens from the new market that brought new opportunities to both countries.

December 29, 2011

There are no institutions to talk about! Africa should sort out governance issues, so as to unlock the enormous potentials and resources she has. It is necessary to link with the rest of the world, this is only possible if we play by universal and internationally accepted practices. corruption, lack of the rule of law, criminal practices and violence meted on the rest of the citizens by a section of political elites, poor basic infrastructure, low levels of secondary education, and shortage of technical colleges,makes it difficult for Africa to trade meaningfully with Brazil. Regional trade, or interstate trade in Africa is improving albeit at a very slow pace.
Africa faces challenges of high population growth which is not balancing well with economic growth. in addition, there are new threats and challenges- drought, food insecurity, undeveloped agriculture, general breakdown of law and order,and apparent state failure.

This is not to say we cannot trade or cooperate with Brazil; the truth is that we are far behind Brazil, we shall soon be begging for cheap Aid and Credit,only to squander it, like we have done before. Africa should for awhile pay more attention to basic issues of governance and respect for human dignity, that is where Development starts.

Philip Enyan
December 29, 2011

i strongly support the idea

December 29, 2011

Sure, the usual hunt for resources. Of course, we the global super powers, are in the race to colonize Africa with our modern economic tools. Beware Africa as we have no other interest in you than to reap your natural resources and channel profits back to our societies to make ourselves richer. Our wealth relies on your poverty!

December 29, 2011

The agriculture based Ethiopian economy needs to develop more and needs to learn quick. The current drought in the horn of Africa can only be solved with a better management of the agricultural sector. Agricultural Development Leads to Industrialization-ADLI- the motto of the Ethiopian economy must be more than willing to bring the expertise of Brazil.
The way Brazil found a solution to elevate poverty of 20 million people is another example the likes of Ethiopia shall consider as goal alone means nothing unless the way to get there is made clear to anyone.
Bravo Brazil!!!

December 29, 2011

Grand !

December 29, 2011

Yep, Africa learning from the Brazilians, would enable her accomplish most of her socio-economic problems. Currently Brazil is the world's richest second richest nation.I think studying something from them would help Africa a lot since most of its money is earned from the agricultural sector .

Susana Carrillo
January 23, 2012


During the last semester of 2011, the demand from African governments for Brazilian financing continued to increase according to official information from the Brazilian Social and Economic Development Bank (BNDES). Brazil’s rising to the six largest world economy (after China, US, France, Germany and Japan) , the continuous economic crisis in northern countries and the positioning of Brazil as a successful provider of South-South cooperation, are all contributing to this increasing demand. In particular, the relevance of successful Brazilian reforms in areas relevant to Africa’s development (agriculture, social protection, vocational training) is worth highlighting

New potential areas for business and investments will develop as the Brazil-African partnerships grow stronger. Production of alternative sources of renewable energy, like bio-ethanol, is a good example. Findings of a study on ethanol production by selected African countries should to be released in 2012. Mining and infrastructure investments are also growing. An agreement has been signed few days ago by Vale, the Brazilian mining company and the government of Malawi, for the construction of a railway that will cross the Nacala corridor, from the port of Nacala to Zambia through Malawi. The construction and operation of the railway will create local job opportunities and social development projects to help improve living conditions along the corridor. This railway will not only serve to transport coal from the mines in Mozambique but will transport merchandise to and from Malawi. But Brazil and Sub - Saharan African countries relationships are not only about investments. They are also about sharing knowledge and practical expertise. Ongoing “structuring projects” in agriculture and social protection in Africa are allowing for this to happen. New initiatives in the education front, like the newly opened University for International Integration for Afro-Brazilian Lusophone countries will also contribute to knowledge sharing. This year, 300 post-graduate students from Africa will be able to get a place at the university. Students from both Brazil and Africa will have the opportunity to debate about their country’s challenges and find common solutions.

February 04, 2012

it is usually necessary to keep a power cable wire apart from a data cable. Some cables have specific minimum bend radius as well.
cable ties

Napoleao Dequech
February 28, 2012

It is no secret that the development of capacities is included in the foundations of a sustainable process of development in a country. Capacity development is the process by which individuals, organizations and societies obtain, strengthen and maintain the ability to define and achieve their own development objectives over time (UNDP). No development goals will be achieved without the application of a national long term process of capacity development.

In theory it seems simple, but in practice, the capacity development has been one of the major challenges for southern countries. The South-South cooperation appears then as an alternative to support countries to lead their own capacity development process.

One of the objectives of this cooperation is to share and transfer the existing knowledge and know-how among countries with similar challenges, adapting it to the needs of these nations. This aims at speeding up the capacity development process in the cooperation-requesting countries through a greater efficiency in the generation of results due to the proximity of realities among "donor" and "receiver” countries.

In this context, Brazil has emerged as a potential partner for supporting capacity development in African countries, especially in the fight against hunger, food security and rural development.

In recent decades, Brazil has increased its capacities at the individual and organizational levels which enabled the country to achieve impressive results in rural development and food security as well as in the fight against hunger, e.g., the multi-sectoral effort that resulted in the reduction of poverty putting the country on track to half hunger by 2015, meeting the first goal of the MDGs; and the model of family farming, responsible for the national food diversity and 70% of the total food consumed in the country, as well as the generation of almost 75% of the jobs in Brazil rural areas.

This caught the attention of the world and especially African countries facing social and economic challenges and whose identification with Brazil is not only tied to historical and cultural links, but also to similar geographical and climatic conditions.
Based on these evidences and potentials, the Brazilian foreign policy, through ABC (Brazilian Agency Cooperation), has been paying a special attention to the opportunities of cooperation between Brazil and African countries. Following this trend, in May 2010 took place the "Brazil-Africa Dialogue on Food Security, Hunger and Rural Development", attended by representatives from 45 African countries, NGOs and international organizations. This event resulted in the creation of a plan of action that clearly focuses on the transfer of knowledge and know-how in the agricultural sector, as well as the transfer of the Brazilian experience in the creation of policies that enabled the country to achieve remarkable results in the reduction of hunger.

Several Brazilian Ministries and institutions such as Embrapa (The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation), Emater( Technical Assistance and Rural Development Enterprise), Senar (National Rural Training Service), Esaql (Luiz de Queiroz – College of Agriculture), are responsible for the development of advanced agricultural technologies and individual capacities applied in different locations of Brazil with the most diverse social, geographical and climatic conditions. Most of these institutions are now keen to support African countries to develop their own capacities. Some projects are already underway as cited in the report of the World Bank (Bridging the Atlantic).

It goes without saying that there are numerous challenges to be overcome in order to achieve efficient results on capacity development in the rural sector, as well as in the fight against hunger under the South-South cooperation. Many of these challenges could be overcome with an increase in the involvement of other developed nations and by multilateral organizations finding their roles in this cooperation.

At the same time, the raise on the exchange of information between Brazil and Africa will play a key role in this cooperation, avoiding unnecessary future efforts and enhancing the opportunities. After all, even though Brazil and Africa have many similarities, they are not identical. This is why the greater the number of information and knowledge about the countries involved in this cooperation is exchanged, the greater the chances of success.

April 25, 2012

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August 21, 2013

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