At the beginning of the 21st century, Africa experienced a fundamental change: while development aid and foreign investment used to come mainly from the West, now economic relations with the emerging countries of the global South, including China and Brazil, became increasingly important. The deepening and expansion of these relations led to a geographical reorientation, which was accompanied by a growing influence of countries and companies from the South.

The mining industry is an example of this development. As early as the end of the Cold War and particularly in the 2000s due to an economic outlook of high international commodity prices, the expansion of companies in the South engaged in the mining or processing of raw materials started to gain pace. Africa, in particular, was the target of these efforts.

INFRAGLOB researchers Jana Hönke and Eric Cezne reflect on these dynamics in a popular article to the University of Bayreuth’s Spektrum magazine thematic issue on Africa. Approaching the involvement of the Brazilian mining giant Vale S.A. in Mozambique, they take a closer look at the idea of „South-South relations“, and at what the various actors in politics, business, and society actually mean when they claim the idea of „South-South relations“ for themselves – and at the practical consequences that can have.

The piece can be read in full here (Spektrum Magazine – Issue II/2019).


Coal export terminal at the Nacala-a-Velha deep-water port, Mozambique. Photo: Eric Cezne