BPC at the BRICS Summit: Professor and general coordinator of the BRICS Policy Center, Ana Garcia, participates in events at the Universities of Johannesburg and Western Cape

Director Ana Saggioro Garcia was in South Africa during the week of the 15th BRICS Heads of State Summit to present the results of the research “Political economy of South-South relations: a comparative analysis of China’s investments in Brazil and South Africa”, carried out in collaboration with Prof. Lisa Thompson, from the University of the Western Cape, with the support of the Karibu Foundation and FAPERJ.

Brazil and South Africa have become major partners for China in their respective regions, as well as in BRICS and other multilateral arenas. They are also among the main recipients of Chinese loans and direct investments. The research provided data on Chinese investments in Brazil and South Africa in terms of volumes, sectors and companies. It also provided data on trade, loans and development assistance in the two countries. In addition, the research identified the evolution of bilateral diplomatic relations between China and Brazil, and China and South Africa, and the public policies and state institutions that support and facilitate foreign direct investment in the two countries. Finally, the research discussed the socio-environmental and labor dynamics that were generated in the territories where the projects were implemented. To do this, she brought the results of two field studies: in the Manaus Free Trade Zone, where were identified issues relating to social labor relations in Chinese manufacturing plants, and in the Musina Makhado Special Economic Zone, which is being implemented in the Limpopo province of South Africa, and which raises important concerns about the environment, water use and impacts on communities.

The research was presented and discussed with professors and students at the University of Johannesburg and the School of Government at the University of the Western Cape. During this stay, Ana Garcia took part in the BRICS from below teach-in, organized by the Centre of Social Change at the University of Johannesburg, which brought together African academics, activists and social movements, based on a focus on social, environmental and economic justice. As well as presenting the research and participating in the BRICS form below teach-In, the trip resulted in an MoU being signed by the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and the University of the Western Cape.