Brazil has announced that it will cancel or restructure almost $900 million in debts of African nations.
Oil- and gas-rich Congo-Brazzaville, Tanzania and Zambia are among the 12 African countries to benefit.
The move is seen as an effort to boost economic ties between the world’s seventh largest economy and the African continent.
Official data in Brazil show that its trade with Africa has increased fivefold in the past decade.
The debt announcement was made during the third visit in three months to Africa by Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, who attended the African Union summit in Ethiopia.
“Almost all (aid) is cancellation,” Rousseff’s spokesman, Thomas Traumann, told reporters.
“To maintain a special relationship with Africa is strategic for Brazil’s foreign policy.”
He added that most of the debt was accumulated in the 1970s and had been renegotiated before.
A spokesman for Brazil’s Foreign Ministry told Efe news agency that the debt restructuring for some countries would consist of more favorable interest rates and longer repayment terms.
Congo-Brazzaville owes the most to Brazil – $352 million – followed by Tanzania ($237 million) and Zambia ($113.4 million).
The other countries to benefit are Ivory Coast, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, and Sudan.
Brazil has been increasingly expanding its economic ties with resource-rich Africa as part of the so-called South-South cooperation.
Trade between the two blocks went from $5 billion in 2000 to $26.5 billion in 2012.