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With trade relationships between Brazil and a number of African countries strengthening, the South American nation has agreed to forgive or restructure nearly $900 million in debt.

Most of the continent’s debt (about $700 million) is with Zambia, Tanzania, and Congo-Brazzaville, according to Clutch. The rest is with countries like Senegal and Ivory Coast.

A good deal of the debt also stems from years back, with a good chunk of it dating to the 1970s.

“To maintain a special relationship with Africa is strategic for Brazil’s foreign policy,” said Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff in a statement. Rousseff was number two on Forbes’ list of Most Powerful Women, released last week.

Rousseff was the only Latin American leader to travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last week for the 50th anniversary of the African Union. The Brazil-Arab News Agency reports that Brazil has the most embassies in Africa, 37 total. So the ties are strong.

And the economies of the countries involved here are gaining strength. Brazil is part of the BRIC countries — Brazil, Russia, India, and China — that have seen their economies grow dramatically over recent years. And these countries have been fostering relationships with African leaders (some that are controversial) in order to have access to these growing markets and the resources available in all of these countries.

Any debt that isn’t forgiven will be placed at a lower interest rate.

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