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Publication Details

White, Lyal  (2013) Emerging powers in Africa: Is Brazil any
different?. South African Journal of International Affairs Vol. 20, No. 1: 117-136.

Africa’s economic rise and growing prosperity over the past decade has attracted the attention of investors, development agencies and governments from across the globe. Brazil has joined this charge of established and emerging powers in Africa. Recent activities across the continent and the development of certain bilateral agreements suggest an alternative approach from other emerging powers in Africa, underpinned by development cooperation between Brazilian and African partners in key sectors. The ‘Brazilian way’, building on its positive image in Africa  primarily through development cooperation  while accumulating core commercial and strategic assets, appears to be aiming at sustainable engagement with long-term objectives. The explicit role of business in Brazil’s development agenda in Africa sets it apart from traditional European and US counterparts, which have typically relied on donor-led aid and development. However, criticism has also crept in around Brazil’s general reluctance to use its influence and commercial leverage to push for greater democratic freedoms in some of the African countries where it operates. While Brazil’s commercial interests on the African continent are slightly different from commodity-starved players like India and China, which are explicitly reliant on extractive motives linked to price and efficiency, the question remains, ‘Is Brazil’s interest and engagement with Africa any different from the rest?’

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