Brazil has said it plans to cancel or restructure $900m worth of debt in 12 African countries, as part of a broader strategy to boost ties with the continent.
Brazilian officials said on Saturday that President Dilma Rousseff, visiting Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to mark the African Union’s 50th anniversary, was set to announce a new development agency alongside the cancellation that will offer assistance to African countries.
“The idea of having Africa as a special relationship for Brazil is strategic for Brazil’s foreign policy,” Thomas Traumann, presidential spokesman, told reporters in Addis Ababa.
“Almost all (aid) is cancellation,” Traumann said.
Among the 12 countries whose debts were pardoned, Congo-Brazzaville was the highest with a $352m debt cancelled, with Tanzania’s $237m debt the second largest.
Traumann said the move was part of Brazil’s efforts to boost economic ties with Africa, home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies.
He added that Brazil recently established an agency to support investments in industry and development in Africa and Latin America.