BNDES, the Brazilian development bank, has opened a new office in Johannesburg.

The office, which officially opened on Friday, will be the bank’s third international location after Montevideo and London – the capitals of Uruguay and the UK – and will be headed up by Paulo Roberto Araújo, currently leader of the bank’s international division.

The branch will not be an operational office and all parts of the investing process, including classifying eligibility, analysis, approval, awarding and follow-up on projects, will be conducted at the bank’s headquarters in Brazil.

Instead, the new office will provide information on financing the exports of Brazilian goods and services, as well as support Brazilian companies looking to expand into Africa.

“We are seeing the office not only as a South African office but as an African office. Our idea is to promote and expand business activity between Brazil and Africa,” a spokesman tells GTR.

“We see that there are a lot of opportunities for involvement of Brazilian companies,” he adds, “we already have a strong presence with Brazilian companies in Portuguese-speaking countries, most of all in Angola and Mozambique”.

BNDES has also supported operations in Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, and South Africa and Brazil’s trade with Africa has been growing.

Between 2000 and 2012, the flow of trade between the two regions expanded more than six-fold, increasing from US$4.9bn to US$26.5bn and Africa’s share of Brazilian exports grew from 3% in the 1990s to 6% today, BNDES says.