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Le Brésil, soutient-il le développement en Afrique de l'Ouest ? L'exemple du Nigeria, du Ghana et du Sénégal

Kohnert, Dirk (2023): Le Brésil, soutient-il le développement en Afrique de l'Ouest ? L'exemple du Nigeria, du Ghana et du Sénégal.

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Brazil’s foreign and trade relations with Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) date back to the Portuguese slave trade. Of the 9.5 million people captured in Africa and brought to the New World between the 16th and 19th centuries, nearly 4 million landed in Rio de Janeiro, i.e. ten times more than all those sent to the United States. Still today, about 51 % of the population see themselves as black or mixed. Racial inequality remains deeply engrained in many respects, notably concerning persistent inequality. Nonetheless, oppression and marginalization of black Brazilians have been largely ignored in modern Brazilian-African relations. Instead, a pronounced nationalism suffused Brazil’s political life. It guided Brazil’s foreign and trade relations and defined how Brazilians interpreted the opportunities of African independence movements. Only Brazil’s President Lula da Silva acknowledged the common historical roots during his first time as president from 2003 to 2011. In fact, his election was driven by the overwhelming support of Afro-Brazilians. Trade relations in the first half of the 20th century were largely limited to South Africa, which accounted for 90 % of Brazil’s African trade. Brasilia’s foreign and trade policy since the 1960s focussed on Nigeria, an important oil supplier, and the five Portuguese-speaking former Portuguese African colonies (PALOP) and the Lusophone Commonwealth (CPLP), founded in 1996. Up to date, Brazilian’s trade relations in West Africa, apart from Nigeria (34 % of Brazil’s African trade) remained fairly modest. Nevertheless, Ghana and Senegal played a decisive role in shaping Brazil-African relations in the early stages of African independence since the 1960s. Because Brazil has meanwhile considerable energy and commodity resources of its own, its approach concerning African trade is less commodity driven than the Chinese or European, but orientated at resource diversification, sustainable development and cooperation to develop these resources, e.g. bioethanol plants in Ghana and other African countries. Therefore, African governments see a greater sense of mutual partnership and reciprocity in their relationship with Brazil. However, corrupt political African elites themselves urged the Brazilian government and companies often into informal political and business norms, with controversial and corrupt investment in commodity extraction, infrastructure and land-grabbing. Apart from that, Brazil tried to create a niche for Brazilian management services, knowledge and technology transfer, suited supposedly exceptionally well for tropical markets.

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