Into Africa

From its national dance to its national dish, Brazil’s African heritage is clear, but the same close connection is less visible in commercial terms. Joe Rowley asks whether this may be about to change

Into Africa iStock.com/SimonDannhauer

Brazil’s close connection with Africa is deeply rooted in a shared colonial history. Latin America’s largest country and the five nations that make up lusophone Africa were all former Portuguese colonies and bound together for hundreds of years by a rigid, imperial trading network overseen from Europe. To monitor trade, commerce and taxation in its far-flung colonies, the Portuguese Crown put in place many of the administrative and legislative structures that continue to bind Brazil to Portuguese-speaking Africa today.