26 May 2013

$US900m African debt relief announced by Brazil

2:59 pm on 26 May 2013

Brazil is to cancel or restructure almost $US900 million worth of debt with Africa.

The announcement was made during a trip to Africa by President Dilma Rousseff, who attended the African Union summit in Ethiopia. it was her third visit in three months.

Spokesman Thomas Traumann said most of the debt was accumulated in the 1970s and had been renegotiated before.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman told the EFE news agency that the debt restructuring for some countries would consist of more favourable interest rates and longer repayment terms.

Congo-Brazzaville owes $US352 million, followed by Tanzania, $US237 million, and Zambia, $US113.4 million.

Other countries to benefit are Ivory Coast, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, and Sudan.

The BBC reports Brazil has been increasingly expanding its economic ties with Africa. Bilateral trade has risen from $US5 billion in 2000 to $US26.5 billion in 2012.

Brazilian companies invest heavily in oil and mining in Africa and Brazil has opened 19 new embassies on the continent in the last decade.