Brazil President Announces US$ 17 Billion Investment in Subway, Bus and Light Rail

Rousseff and Zuma Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff announced that her administration plans to invest 30 billion reais (US$ 17 billion) in urban transportation projects across Brazil. 

The plan envisions expanding existing metro networks and building new ones, as well as establishing bus lanes, light rail systems and multimodal transport hubs, the president said on her weekly radio program.

She did not specify how much of the 30-billion-reais figure corresponds to new projects and how much to programs already included in the budget.

Rousseff made separate trips last week to the southeastern cities of Curitiba and Porto Alegre to announce plans to build the first metro lines in those metropolitan areas.

“To guarantee quality, fast, modern and safe public transportation at accessible prices means improving life for everyone,” she said.

“Projects like these wouldn’t get off the drawing board without the participation of the federal government.”

While the government already planned significant transport projects in the dozen Brazilian cities that will host matches during the 2014 soccer World Cup, the president said the latest initiative will involve many other municipalities.

President Rousseff made the announcements of public radio while traveling to South Africa for a meeting of the IBSA group (India, Brazil and South Africa), previous to an official visit to several African countries including the former Portuguese colonies of Mozambique and Angola.

Rousseff is in Africa this week. She will visit South Africa, Mozambique and Angola.This is the first visit to the African continent by the president.

On Monday, she was in Pretoria (South Africa) to attend the 5th Summit of the IBSA Dialogue Forum. “IBSA” refers to India, Brazil and South Africa, three emerging nations whose recent progress and economic growth are considered one of the few bright spots in the international community as the world weathers the international financial crisis. .

The leaders of the three countries are all in favor of reforming the United Nations Security Council. Each one wants a permanent seat. They are also critical of military action to end diplomatic deadlock, such as what recently happened in Libya – a position opposed to the United States and the European Union.

In their meetings, Rousseff, the president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, and the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, will discuss the impact of the international economic crisis and the challenges of developing countries. The gathering of the IBSA leaders takes place less than a month before the G-20 Summit, scheduled for November 3 and 4 in France.

The flow of trade among the IBSA countries quadrupled between 2003 and 2010, rising from $4.38 billion to $16.1 billion annually. Indians, Brazilians and South Africans have developed partnership projects through the recently created IBSA Fund to fight hunger and poverty in six countries. Together they also support solid waste collection along with agricultural improvement projects in Haiti and eight other countries.

In a joint declaration, Rousseff, Zuma and Singh are expected to mention the worsening situation in Syria and Libya, as well as the need for more efforts to promote sustainable development as part of preparations for the Rio+20 Conference, which will take place from May to June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro. During the IBAS summit, there will also be sectorial technical meetings dealing with the areas of defense industry, energy and science and technology.

Summit spokespersons have said that for India, Brazil and South Africa, the priority is South-South cooperation, with the aim of generating effective contributions in combating inequality and social exclusion. The IBSA Fund for Alleviation of Hunger and Poverty, created in 2004, is the main instrument for implementing those goals.

During her visit toAfrica, president Dilma Rousseff is being accompanied by ministers Antonio Patriota (Foreign Affairs), Fernando Pimentel (Development, Industry and Foreign Trade) and Luis Barrios (head of the Secretariat for the Promotion of Racial Equality).

The visit of President Dilma Rousseff to Mozambique and Angola (between October 18 and 20) is intended to be a demonstration of the fact that Brazil and the two African countries have more in common than a past of Portuguese colonization. Since the independence of Angola and Mozambique, the three countries have put in place development targets, along with economic, commercial and social partnerships.

Mozambique is expected to be one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. Brazilians and Mozambicans have several joint projects.The principal one is a mining complex at Miatize, in northern Mozambique, developed by Vale, which is investing $6 billion to produce 12 million tons of coal per year.

According to the Foreign Ministry, Mozambique is currently the largest recipient of Brazilian cooperation, having received approximately $70 million.

There are investments in health, including the manufacture of antiretroviral drugs, education, agriculture and vocational training. Trade between the two countries increased from $25 million in 2010 to $60 million in the first half of this year.

In Maputo, Dilma will participate in tributes to former president Samora Machel (1975-1986), who led the war of independence and became the first president of Mozambique. Talks with president, Armando Guebuza, are scheduled, as well as meetings with Mozambican and Brazilian entrepreneurs.

In Angola, Dilma will certainly point out that Brazil was the first country to recognize its independence in November 1975, and that Brazil supported the Angolans during the Cold War (1945-1991), when the United States and the former Soviet Union both tried to exert influence in the country.

Currently, Angola is going through a delicate political phase. The government of president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, in power since 1979, has been criticized by the opposition, which accuses him of political manipulation and disregard for democracy.

The Brazilian government has avoided involvement with the country’s internal issues and sought to highlight the positive aspects of the bilateral relationship: the growth in economic and trade partnerships.

Between 2002 and 2008, bilateral trade grew more than 20 times. The largest Brazilian investments in Angola are concentrated in the areas of construction, energy and mineral exploration. The Angolans are among the main beneficiaries of credit lines from the Export Guarantee Fund run by the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES).

Brazilian exports are concentrated in meat, sugar, machinery and mechanical instruments. During the visit technical cooperation agreements will be signed setting up partnerships to combat drug trafficking, development of research in geology and creation of Social Security programs.

In Luanda, president Dilma will pay tribute to Agostinho Neto (1975-1979), the first president of Angola after its independence. Unfortunately, for 27 years after independence (1975 to 2002), Angola went through a civil war that claimed over 500,000 lives. Landmines left over from the terrible war still maim and kill mainly children.



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