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

Louw, Gertruida Cornelia Jacoba (2016-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.

Thesis

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 expanding its relations with Africa lies within its need to increase its international status and that it used Africa as a stage from whence to display its strength and capability, thus fulfilling its international status-seeking ambition.

AFRIKAANS ABSTRACT: Brasilië-Afrika verhoudinge strek terug na die trans-Atlantiese slawehandel van die sestiende en negentiende eeu. Ten spyte van die vroeë aanvang van verhoudinge, was dit eers sedert die administrasie van President Luiz Inácio „Lula‟ da Silva‟s (2003-2010) dat Brasilië se uitbreiding na Afrika noemenswaardig geword het. Hierdie tesis onderneem on hierdie tydperk van ongekende Brasiliaanse uitbreiding na Afrika te analiseer. Die kern navorsingsvraag wat hierdie studie lei is: Reflekteer die redes vir Brasilië se uitbreiding van sy politiese-ekonomiese belangstellings in Afrika gedurende die Lula administrasie Brasilië se rol as a neo-Gramsciaanse intermedïere moondheid („middle power‟)? Die kern doel van die tesis, soos uiteengesit in die kern navorsingsvraag, is dus om die redes agter Brasilië se toenemende voetspoor op die kontinent gedurende Lula se presidentskap te verduidelik en te beskryf, asook om te beskryf of díe uitbreiding Brasilië se rol as ʼn neo-Gramsciaanse intermedïere moondheid reflekteer, al dan nie. Ek argumenteer dat Brasilië se betrokkenheid in Afrika wel sy neo-Gramsciaanse intermedïere moondheid rol reflekteer. Hierdie tesis maak dus gebruik van neo-Gramsciaanse intermedïere moondheid teorie en ʼn kwalitatiewe navorsingsmetodologie. Om die kern navorsingsvraag te beantwoord, kyk hierdie tesis na binnelandse en internasionale redes vir Brasilië se uitbreiding van sy politiese-ekonomiese belangstellings in Afrika deur om die internasionale en binnelandse uitbreiding apart te bespreek. Die binnelandse redes vir Brasilië se politiese uitbreiding na Afrika sluit in: die stabiele en positiewe binnelandse ekonomiese konteks in Brasilie gedurende die Lula tydperk; die internasionale fokus van die linkse Brasiliaanse werkersparty (PT); die belange van die Afro-Brasiliaanse plaaslike stem; en Lula se persoonlike belangstelling om na Afrika uit te brei. Die internationale redes sluit in: die persepsie van Afrika se stygende internasionale belangrikheid; Afrika se strategiese ondersteuningsbasis vir Brasiliaanse (inter)nasionale belange; die veranderende wêreld orde; Brasilië se soeke na autonomie; en die geopolitiese sekuriteitsbelange in die Suid Atlanties. Die binnelandse redes vir Brasilië se uitbreiding van sy ekonomiese belange in Afrika sluit in: die noodsaaklikheid van ʼn kompromie tussen verskillende klasse in Brasilië; Brasilië se buitelandsebeleidsfokus op die internasionale uitbreiding van die ekonomie en Brasilië se toenemende diplomatieke verhoudinge met Afrika; die privaat agentskappe wat Brasilië-Afrika ekonomiese verhoudinge bevorder; die noodsaakliheid om strategiese natuurlike hulpbronne te verseker; en Brasilië se nasionale belange in die bevordering van biobrandstof in Afrika. Die kern internasionale motiverings is: die idee van Afrika as die laaste ekonomiese hawe; die soeke na nuwe markte vir Brasiliaanse goedere; die vergelykende voordeel wat Brasilië in Afrika het; en Brasilië se doelwit om n nuwe internasional handelsgeografie te stig. Hierdie redes het dus Brasilië se uitbreiding na Afrika gedryf en die sentrale argument wat ek in die tesis maak is dat Brasilië se oorhoofse motivering vir die uitbreiding na Afrika lê in sy soeke na internasionale status en dat Brasilië Afrika gebruik as ʼn verhoog vanwaar hy sy vermoë tentoonstel.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98632
This item appears in the following collections: