AbstractsPolitical Science

Lula’s Brazil in Africa: extending its middle power role?

by Gertruida Cornelia Louw

Institution: Stellenbosch University
Year: 2016
Keywords: Africa  – Foreign economic relations  – Brazil; Brazil  – Foreign economic relations  – Africa; Middle powers; Global political economy; Da Silva, Luiz Inacio; Political economy  – Brazil; UCTD
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2068861
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98632


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Brazil-Africa relations date back to the trans-Atlantic slave trade of the sixteenth and nineteenth century. Despite the early onset of relations, it was only since the turn of the millennium, with the onset of President Luiz Inácio „Lula‟ da Silva‟s administration (2003-2010) that Brazil‟s expansion into Africa became noteworthy. This thesis sets out to analyse this period of unprecedented Brazilian expansion into the African continent. The research question that guides this study is: Do the reasons for Brazil‟s expansion of its political-economic interests in Africa during the Lula administration reflect Brazil‟s role as a neo-Gramscian middle power? The main objective of this thesis, as highlighted by the central research question, is thus to explain and describe the reasons behind Brazil‟s increased footprint on the continent during Lula‟s time in office and to describe how this expansion of Brazil into Africa does or does not reflect Brazil‟s role as a neo-Gramscian middle power. I argue that Brazil‟s involvement in Africa does indeed reflect its neo-Gramscian middle power role. This thesis thus makes use of neo-Gramscian middle power theory and a qualitative research methodology to guide research. To answer the central research question, this thesis looks at domestic and international reasons for Brazil‟s expansion of its political-economic interests in Africa by analysing the reasons for Brazil‟s political and economic expansion separately. The domestic reasons for Brazil‟s political expansion into Africa include, the overall positive and stable domestic (political-)economic context in Brazil during this period; the international-mindedness of the leftist „Partido dos Trabalhadores‟ (PT); the interests of the Afro-Brazilian domestic voter base; and Lula‟s personal interest in expanding to Africa. The international reasons include, the perception of Africa‟s rising international importance; Africa‟s strategic importance as a supporter base for Brazilian (inter)national interests; the changing world order; Brazil‟s search for autonomy; and geopolitical security in the South Atlantic. The domestic motivations for Brazil‟s expansion of its economic interests in Africa include, the necessity of a class compromise; Brazil‟s foreign policy of economic internationalisation and its increased diplomatic relations with Africa; the private agencies promoting Brazil-Africa economic relations; the need to secure strategic natural resources; and Brazil‟s domestic interest in promoting biofuels in Africa. The main international motivations for Brazil‟s increased economic interests in Africa include, the perception of Africa as the final economic frontier; the need to gain access to international market for Brazilian goods and services; the comparative advantage Brazil has in Africa; and Brazil‟s goal of establishing a new international trade geography. These reasons thus drove Brazil‟s expansion into Africa and the central argument that I make in this thesis is that Brazil‟s overarching motivation for… Advisors/Committee Members: Van der Westhuizen, Janis E., Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Political Science..