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China and Brazil increase resource footprint in Africa

Last month, the Huffington Post published a column discussing the growing footprint of two emerging powers in Africa – China and Brazil. China is a known quantity on the continent, and has been the “unequivocal leader in infrastructure development within Africa.” More recently, however, Brazil has accelerated its efforts and more than quadrupled investment to more than $20 billion over the past decade.

China’s motive for its aggressive investment strategy is clear: it’s about access to the continent’s mineral riches. But while Brazilian resource companies (both fuel and non-fuel) are leading the loan, aid and infrastructure campaign, Julia Neyman, citing Financial Times’ Deputy Emerging Markets Editor Jonathan Wheatley, argues that Brazil’s “move is ‘less about commodities, more about new markets.’”

Whatever the ultimate motivation, Neyman is on point when she says:

“Not only does Africa provide a necessary platform to showcase China and Brazil’s advancements to other BRIC and G20 nations, but the continent itself serves as a strategic future investment. […] If and when African nations become more important players on the world stage, China and Brazil’s political positions will have been favorably cemented.”

The interesting question is, where is the United States in this picture?