Brazil-Africa trade to reach $60bn by 2017

2011-11-17 11:20

Sao Paulo – Brazil’s trade with Africa could triple to $60 billion (R490.7 billion at current exchange rate) by 2017, according to business leaders here who also highlighted the South American behemoth’s potential as a development model for the continent.

“I believe that trade could reach $60 billion in six years,” said Roberto Giannetti da Fonseca, head of foreign trade at the Sao Paulo Industrial Federation (FIESP), who noted that trade already tripled to $20 billion between 2004 to last year.

He made his remarks at a conference on the private sector’s role in African development that brought together local entrepreneurs, diplomats, Brazilian government officials, economists and representatives from multilateral organisations.

Da Fonseca saw great prospects for boosting Brazilian exports to the African continent, particularly farm machinery which – unlike agricultural equipment from Europe or the United States – is particularly suited to Africa’s tropical conditions.

Brazil is a tropical country where business leaders have a good understanding of challenges faced by African countries, he added.

Experts noted that Brazil currently runs a trade deficit of nearly two billion dollars with Africa, which they attribute mostly to large imports of oil from Nigeria.

And they pointed out Brazil’s state-owned energy giant Petrobras, which has a significant presence throughout the continent, helps produce Nigeria’s sought-after high-grade Bonny Light Crude oil.

“What we saw today was high-level interest from a number of very influential Brazilian business people and government officials,” said Bobby Pittman, vice-president of the African Development Bank.

“We Africans know that there is a lot to learn from the Brazilian experience,” Pittman said.

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