A recent Huffington Post article talked about the importance of soft power and cultural ties in China's and Brazil's bid for investing in Africa.
Although China has far more economic resources than Brazil, the first seems to be presently losing the battle to the second because of bad reputation and, essentially, a lacking soft power. Brazil, on the other hand, is seen as a friendly trust-worthy nation with strong cultural ties to Africa. And, Brazilian companies don't mistreat their African workers like some Chinese have done so.
It's interesting to think that the measure of soft power may be decisive in how much influence each country will be able to yield over time in Africa. China has many problems in that area not only in Africa, but in the U.S. (remember their campaign in Times Square?), and I would dare say nearly all over the West.
African countries are pushing back against a so-called new imperialism that they see with China's presence in the continent, whereas Brazil is seen as engaging with the population and having an interest in cooperation.
Can soft power really decide the outcome of grand strategies like this, going beyond monetary resources? It's an interesting phenomenon to analyze.