Sérgio Chichava of Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Económicos (IESE) in Mozambique explores whether Brazil’s investment in Mozambique’s agricultural sector is motivated by self-interest or genuine solidarity.
Over the past 40 years, Brazil has transformed herself from a net importer of agricultural products to the world’s third largest agricultural producer and exporter. The South American country serves as a model for many developing countries and is keen to share her expertise particularly with countries in Africa. This is being done by replicating Brazil’s “successful” public policies. The idea is: “what is good for Brazil is also good for Africa. As Lula da Silva once said, “I am convinced that the public policies implemented in Brazil can be exported to Africa. There will need to be some adjustments of course, but these policies can work in Africa.”
Chief among Brazil’s partners in Africa is Mozambique, where programmes are trialled before being applied in other African countries. As you can see from the table below, there are currently six programmes in the southern African country being financed by Brazil. For example, More Food Africa, a Brazilian credit programme aiming to promote export of agricultural equipment into Africa has already been implemented in other countries like Senegal, Ghana, Kenya and Zimbabwe.
Such is the importance of Mozambique, Embrapa, Brazil’s agricultural research body, has a large contingent of staff based in the country. The African co-ordinator of ABC, the Brazilian government agency which monitors all international technical co-operation projects is also stationed there. However, this engagement is not free of controversy with some arguing that Brazil’s main interest is to be recognised as a “global player” and to support Brazilian companies in Mozambique and not to promote local development. Something similar is in store for ProSAVANA, Brazil’s most ambitious programme to date, if it succeeds in the southern African country.