Libya has separated US$ 500 million for investment in business in South America and wants to turn part of these funds to Brazil. The information was disclosed by the deputy prime minister of the Arab country, Imbarek Ashamikh, during meetings, in São Paulo, with state governor José Serra and with the mayor of the city of São Paulo, Gilberto Kassab.
Imbarek, who headed a delegation with representatives of several sectors of the Libyan government, mainly mentioned his interest in the agricultural sector. "Brazil is of great importance in South America and the delegation that is accompanying me is studying possible investment," he said. "There is political will in Libya to invest in Brazil," he announced, adding that the volume of US$ 500 million "is just the beginning".
Serra added that the state is interested in attracting Libyan funds, as "there is lack of investment, including in agribusiness". He said, for example, that there are opportunities in the sugar and alcohol sector and in the production of grain.
"São Paulo has the largest sugar industry in Brazil and is the third main agricultural state, being the largest in productivity, despite covering little over 2% of the national territory," said the governor.
The development secretary and former governor of the state of São Paulo, Geraldo Alckmin, spoke about the Investe São Paulo program, by the São Paulo state investment promotion agency. "It may help in this work," he pointed out. Alckmin said that he places the organization at the disposal of the Libyans to help in the identification of opportunities and promotion of business.
The deputy governor, Alberto Goldman, added that there is interest of Brazil in expanding exports to the Arab country, as the trade balance is currently favorable to Libya due to oil exports. The secretary of Agriculture, João Sampaio, stated that the government may present to the Libyans companies that plan to expand their trade relations.
Serra added that, apart from exports of industrial or agricultural products, São Paulo may supply services to Libya, mentioning as examples the work already developed by construction company Norberto Odebrecht in the country. The company is in charge of the construction of two new terminals in Tripoli International Airport and the third ring road around the Libyan capital.
Company president Marcelo Odebrecht participated in a meeting at Bandeirantes Palace and the Libyan deputy prime minister should today learn about one of the groups' projects in the sugar and alcohol sector.
Ashamikh added that his country also wants to attract Brazilian investment. He mentioned as examples the exports of natural resources. "Libya is a country free to investment. There are riches that have not yet been explored," he said. Among the opportunities, he mentioned the production of raw materials for the cement and glass industries and the mining of iron ore.
Later, during a dinner offered by the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, the director of the Libyan Investment Council, Abdarramhman Algamudi, also pointed out projects in the furniture, electric and electronic product, fabric, chemical product and oil industries.
The deputy prime minister also said that his government wants to promote joint investment in Libya and Brazil in other countries in Africa and in the Arab world. "We may create an economic example to be followed," he said. Apart from that, he said he would like to see a permanent fair of Brazilian products in Tripoli.
At the city hall, Gilberto Kassab said that it is very important for Brazil and especially for São Paulo to establish closer ties with the Arab countries. In this respect, he said that next week he is going to lead a delegation from the city of São Paulo to Lebanon.
"I hope to be able to do something similar in Libya in the future," added the mayor, who is of Lebanese descent.
Arab Brazilian Chamber president Salim Taufic Schahin, who accompanied the deputy prime minister's meetings alongside the organization's Foreign Relations vice president, Helmi Nasr, recalled that the government of president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva adopted as policies the promotion and closer ties between developing countries.
"President Lula's attitude, of moving closer and closer to the Arab nations, to the African countries, and to South-South cooperation, has been generating fruit that should be intensified in the long run," he pointed out.
In the dinner offered by the Chamber he spoke about the mission to North Africa that was recently headed by the Brazilian Minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, Miguel Jorge, whose first stop was Libya. "The event, crowned with success, reflects the growing relevance of Libya for Brazilian foreign trade," he said.
He also mentioned the activities already promoted by the Arab Brazilian Chamber like participation in Tripoli International Fair and the support to Libyan delegations that were in Brazil. "With regard to relations between Brazil and Libya we have fertile field to evolve," he said. Schahin placed the organization at the disposal of Libyan authorities and businessmen interested in expanding relations and business with Brazil.
The deputy prime minister also visited the Legislative Assembly, where he was met by the chairman of the House, representative Vaz de Lima, and the Syrian-Lebanese Hospital, where he met with the clinical director, Riad Younes, and the honorary president of the Women's Beneficent Society, which manages the organization, Violeta Jafet.