Brazil has also begun to compete with the emerging economies of India and China for the natural resources in Africa.
“A huge environmental question is of course with what methods and how sustainably these resources will be exploited," points out Professor Jussi Pakkasvirta, director of the Department of Political and Economic Studies.
In relation to its population, Brazil boasts impressive natural resources itself. Nevertheless, during the past decade, Brazil has doubled its number of embassies in Africa and cancelled a billion dollars’ worth of debt owed by countries on the continent.
“Brazil has truly arrived in Africa. Its African trade has increased sixfold during the past decade,” explains Pakkasvirta.
Europe left in the dust
“This kind of trade cooperation between countries previously thought to be in the impoverished South is a concrete example of the kind of multi-polar world we live in today. From the perspective of Brazil, India, China and Africa, Europe is in many ways on the sidelines”.
How are Africans viewing this new rush? To some degree, the new arrivals are doing what European colonists did, but the newcomers are faced with sovereign states. These states can make contracts and may stand to benefit from the surge of interest in Africa,” Pakkasvirta points out.
“The young researchers I interviewed in Tanzania and Kenya did not seem to long for a typically Nordic discourse of the welfare state and human rights. Instead they call for Asian efficiency and leadership: a model where issues and the economy are fixed first and human rights come later.”
Brazil at Think Corner
How is business conducted in Brazil? Will the regional superpower become a significant player on the global stage? What kinds of religious changes are underway in Brazil? These are just some of the questions addressed at Think Corner on 28.10–8.11.2013. Think Corner panel discussions will also be available as live webcasts at helsinki.fi/thinkcorner.