Brazil’s top investment bank announced plans to raise $1 billion to create the world’s largest investment fund for Africa – but especially Zambia – focusing on infrastructure, energy and agriculture, according to a report in ZambiaDailyMail.
The independent BTG Pactual bank fund announcement comes amid a government drive to establish a strategic partnership with Africa, signalling Brazil’s increasing interest to extend its economic footprint on the continent, the report says. Trade between Brazil and Africa jumped from $4 billion in 2000 to about $20 billion in 2010.
Brazilian companies doing business in Africa tend to hire and train local employees and offer social projects to foster home-grown development, the report said. In Angola, Brazilian Construction Company Odebrecht became the largest private employer in the country.
The sixth largest economy in the world, Brazil is trying to compete with emerging giants like China and India.
Zambia is Africa’s No. 1 copper producer. Several new mining projects in Zambia include expansion of Barrick Gold-owned Lumwana Copper Mine; First Quantum’s $2 billion greenfield Trident project; China Non-ferrous Mining Corporation’s $832 million copper project and Lubambe Mine, owned jointly by Brazil’s Vale, African Rainbow Minerals and state-owned ZCCM Investments Holdings.
Brazil has been operating under the radar, said Markus Weimer, research fellow in the Africa Program at Chatham House, in the report. “Brazil…is not seen necessarily as one of those kind of players (China and India). The stories of Brazil with Africa have also been less contentious.”
Using Portuguese-speaking countries like Angola and Mozambique as entry points, Brazil’s state-owned and private companies have made inroads in parts of the continent, mostly in strategic sectors such as infrastructure, mining and energy, according to the ZambiaDailyMail report.