BRICS summit in South Africa to renew ties between Africa and Brazil
The BRICS summit in Johannesburg this week is putting Brazil-Africa business co-operation back to the agenda after several years of neglect.
During his first two terms in office from 2003 to 2010, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva visited dozens of African countries for bilateral meetings.
But his right-wing opponent Jair Bolsonaro, who served from 2019 to 2022, did not visit the continent once. With Lula’s return to office, there are renewed hopes that he will again boost diplomatic and trade links with Africa.
One Brazilian company that hopes to take advantage of the renewed ties is BrazAfric, headed by Marcos Brandalise, which operates from offices in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda and is considering boosting its presence in Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The firm supplies machinery for wet coffee processing, dry coffee milling as well as coffee roasters and grinders. Today, the company has around 20 exclusive agencies with different Brazilian companies to supply coffee processing equipment from Brazil to African customers.
But the firm’s ambitions go beyond well beyond beans. The firm also works with suppliers and partners to deliver agriprojects from feasibility studies to design, delivery, assembly, training and management.
By applying the lessons learned from many decades of food production in Brazil, Brandalise says the firm can help Africa to develop a truly vibrant and profitable agronomy sector.
“There is a huge gap between consumption and production. Africa imports a lot of its food despite all this potential to produce,” says Brandalise.
“I think we are at the right moment with the right solutions. We have the momentum to develop farms, to produce food… We are always bringing new things to the market. And people appreciate that today we are reference point in eastern and central Africa for solutions coming from Brazil.”
Brandalise has come a long way since his first tentative steps into Africa. Having graduated from University of Caxias do Sul in Brazil with a degree in business administration, he joined Transafrik, an aviation cargo company based in Angola. He was subsequently posted to Nairobi, where the company was contracted to the United Nations’ operations in neighboring Somalia. When his contract ended in 1996, he formed BrazAfric.
“I decided to establish myself here. So then I started linking my past in Brazil, with Africa,” he says.
Source: African Business