Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the president of Brazil, is going to propose broad cooperation with Africa at the 13th African Union (AU) Summit, to take place in Sirte, Libya, from July 1st to 3. Lula should participate in the meeting as a guest of honor.
The invitation, according to the Brazilian Foreign Office (Itamaraty), was made by Libyan leader Muammar Gadafi, who is occupying the rotating presidency of the AU, and by Jean Ping, from Gabon, who is president of the AU Commission, which is equivalent to the secretariat general.
Brazil promotes cooperation projects in different areas with several countries in Africa, but on the bilateral scope. The idea now, according to information disclosed by the Itamaraty, is to "multiply the scale" of initiatives, taking them to the AU so that they may be used by all nations in the block that may be interested.
Previously the government of Brazil sent a delegation to Ethiopia, where the organization is headquartered, to discuss the sector of greatest interests among the Africans. Cooperation initiatives were selected in areas like agriculture, public health, social programs and electoral processes.
They are sectors in which Brazil has successful experiences and that may be forwarded and adapted to other countries in the spirit of the so-called South-South cooperation, which involves actions like transfer of know-how, training of managers, training of personnel and even investment of funds.
There are already several projects for cooperation between Brazil and the African nations in progress. An example is the formation of a model farm in Mali for the production of cotton with technology supplied by the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa).
Apart from the assistance of researchers from the institution in the implementation of techniques for improvement of the soil, adaptation of seeds and productivity gains, the government of Brazil, according to the Itamaraty, turned approximately US$ 4 million to the initiative, which should soon be producing its first crop.
Another example is the installation of a factory for generic antiretroviral medication for the treatment of AIDS in Mozambique. The plan, which, according to the Itamaraty, should start operating by the end of the year, is the result of technology transfer by Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), from the state of Rio de Janeiro, and of the donation of around US$ 8 million by Brazil.
These are experiences, in the point of view of Brazilian diplomacy that may be used by other countries in Africa, adapted to the different realities of the continent, with out the imposition of conditions.
In his address at the opening of the summit, Lula should speak about the priority that Brazil grants to relations with Africa and to cooperation experience that is generating results. The president has already visited around 20 African countries.
The theme of the summit should be "Investing in Agriculture for Economic Growth and Food Security". In this area, the government believes that Brazil may provide a great contribution to the African continent, as the country is among the main agricultural producers in the world and has broad research in the area.
In the evaluation of the Itamaraty, as Brazil operates in several fronts in the agricultural sector – from family farming to cooperatives, great commercial properties and biofuel industry -, there are conditions to offer assistance to different kinds of countries. In some, the most recommended activity may be small family farming, in others, agribusiness and even production of ethanol, as already takes place in Sudan.
The African Union includes 53 countries on the continent and was established in 2002. Among the objectives is being a multilateral organization for integration of its members.
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