Power

Africa not even an afterthought for Jair Bolsonaro’s Brazil

Brazil’s reputation and interests on the continent are another casualty of President Bolsonaro’s erratic foreign policy

President Jair Bolsonaro with Cyril Ramaphosa, of South Africa. Photo: Alan Santos/PR
President Jair Bolsonaro with Cyril Ramaphosa, of South Africa. Photo: Alan Santos/PR

Citing his “political, moral and historical obligation,” Brazil’s former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva visited five Southern African countries in November 2004. The trip was seen as a token of how important South-South relations would be for the Lula administration. “Brazilian society was built on the work, the sweat, and the blood of Africans,” said Lula, in a reference to the 4 million-plus slaves shipped from Africa to Brazil between the 16th and 18th centuries.

That rapprochement sparked trade between Brazil and the continent to unprecedented levels — from just USD 6 billion in 2003 to USD 28 billion...

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