Brazil has continuously kept ties with Africa following the historic period of slave-trading, but its engagement gradually intensified after the Cold War and came to a head under Lula da Silva’s presidency. In the first decade of the twenty-first century, Brazil’s involvement in Africa rose to unprecedented levels. Political dialogue on bilateral and interregional levels was accompanied by Brazil’s claim to provide security and development to the continent. The country’s ambition to reclaim its African identity and become a leader of the Global South was implemented through participation in United Nations missions on the African continent, military training and provision, technical cooperation, and forging alliances with African countries, thus directly challenging the West’s development aid and defence positions. In return, Brazil benefited from political support for its leadership aspirations in global arenas. Lula’s successor, Dilma Rousseff, has pursued a less enthusiastic approach towards Africa, which has been accelerated by Brazil’s ongoing domestic crises. This has resulted in a re-focusing on niche strengths, such as the transfer of policies and knowledge to the lusophone world, or economically viable endeavours, such as exporting specialised defence equipment to Africa. This contraction period provides Europe and the US with an opportunity to pull Brazil away from what they see as an antagonistic Global South policy and back into a cooperative framework for development and security with Western actors.
Paper produced in the framework of the project “The EU, the US and the International Strategic Dimension of Sub-Saharan Africa: Peace, Security and Development in the Horn of Africa”, September 2016. Publ. also in: Bernardo Venturi and Nicoletta Pirozzi (eds.), The EU, the US and the International Strategic Dimension of Sub-Saharan Africa: Peace, Security and Development in the Horn of Africa, Brussels, Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and Rome, Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), 2016, p. 19-40, ISBN 978-88-6812-734-3
1. Historical context
2. Relations after the Cold War
3. The role of Brazil in peace and security in Sub-Saharan Africa
4. The role of Brazil in development in Sub-Saharan Africa
5. Priorities and challenges of Brazil’s engagement in Sub-Saharan Africa
6. Recommendations for the EU and the US in the context of Brazil’s presence in Africa