"Brazil in Africa - Extraregional Engagement as Stepping Stone to Great Power Status?"
Since President Lula da Silva came to power in 2003, Brazil has actively sought to strengthen ties with African countries, broadening its influence beyond its South American neighborhood. President Lula himself has contributed largely to the deepening of relations by visiting more than 20 countries and opening a dozen of new embassies in Africa. Beyond its traditionally strong ties with Lusophone countries, Brazil has actively established ties with French and English speaking countries, thus constantly expanding the number of its African partners in recent years. New political initiatives on the inter-regional and global level, such as the Africa-South America Summit (ASA), IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa Forum) or Cotton-4 (with Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali) also show Brazil’s grown interest in its neighboring continent. Considering Brazil’s quest to be recognized as South America’s regional power, questions arise concerning the reasons for this foreign engagement. What kind of interest is pursued by fostering new partnerships with countries not belonging to Brazil’s natural sphere of influence? And in how far do Brazil’s extra-regional actions affect its claim for regional power in South America?