Research Team

Shiguenoli Miyamoto and Antonia Aparecida Quintão dos Santos Cezerilo

Abstract

The objective of this multidisciplinary project is to analyse the relations Brazil – Africa on the political-strategic, economic and historical-cultural level, as well as the impact is to these relations for Africa’s image in Brazilian society. A research integrating all these dimensions is innovative. Contrary to China’s relations with Africa, the role of Brazil, an emerging regional power, as a new actor in the African continent has almost remained unnoticed by social science research in Portugal. Since President Lula da Silva (2003-2010) has come to power Brazil strengthened considerably its relations with Africa as part a new foreign policy to affirm the country as a new global player. This diplomatic offensive is not new, as already in the 1970s Brazil had established political relations with many African countries. Thereafter, in the 1980s and 1990s, the economic crisis in Brazil resulted in a decline of co-operation with Africa. While in the 1970s Brazil appeared in Africa as another developing country, now the country presents itself as an emerging regional power that claims a place in the international order equivalent to its real demographic, political and economic importance. Invoking both historical and cultural affinities between Africa and Brazil and the great proportion of Brazilians with ancestry, Brasilia considers the strengthening of relations with Africa as the country’s political, moral and historical obligation. The role of these historical and cultural affinities in the relations with Africa a transversal issue of this research.

Fulfilling an electoral promise, right at the begining of this term, the president introduced the history of Africa and Afro-Brazilians cultures as compulsory subjects in Brazilian schools. As a result of the new foreign policy, since 2003 the number of Brazilian embassies in Africa increased from 18 to 34. The eleven official visits that Lula da Silva paid to more than 20 countries stress the priority given by the Brazilian government to the African continent as part of its South – South relations