Brazil’s 'Biofuels Diplomacy' in Africa: A Model for South-South Collaboration?
6 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2010 Last revised: 9 Jun 2014
Date Written: April 20, 2010
Brazil has been and continues to be one of the global leaders in biofuel production. Half of Brazil’s sugar-cane feedstock production goes towards ethanol production. This paper focuses on the evolving diplomatic relations between Brazil and various African countries to promote the development of biofuels technology as an alternative and renewable source of energy. A cursory search on the Internet for 'Brazil Africa biofuels' provides an immense amount of information on the biofuel-related activities taking place across the Atlantic. Brazil’s foreign relations with Africa have been getting stronger, especially since Brazilian Labor Party President Lula da Silva came into power in 2003 In addition to the biofuels market, Brazil has also been active in organizing capacity building workshops about biofuels amongst African regional political organizations at the highest level. Africa leaders think that the South-South partnership such as the one Brazil is pursuing in Africa is a way of maximizing African interests. Like China, Brazil is being used by African governments to counter the traditional colonial and neo-colonial economic domination by Europe of its key infrastructures. The diversification of development partners is something that is desirable. However, African policy makers must be prepared to cope with unintended consequences of the rush to embrace a new technology. To minimize those adverse side effects, biofuels strategies should incorporate adequate environmental and societal impact assessments including protection of farmers from being removed from their land and the protection of ecosystems from loss of biodiversity in the face of putting land into biofuels production.
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