On Sunday, April 10, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will begin his fourth trip to Africa since taking office in 2003. According to the press office of the Ministry of Foreign Relations, he will visit five countries in four days.
Lula’s first stop will be in Cameroon, where, in January, preparing for the President’s trip, the Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, inaugurated the Brazilian Embassy in the capital, Yaoundé, and signed a cooperation agreement for cacao cultivation.
In Nigeria, the Presidential entourage is expected to intensify negotiations in sectors such as trade and combatting AIDS. The two countries are part of the HIV/AIDS Technological Cooperation Network.
Together, besides expanding technical cooperation, they intend to alter the stance of the World Health Organization (WHO) with regard to the prequalification of manufacturers of generic drugs, especially ones used to combat AIDS.
On the multilateral stage, Nigerians and Brazilians also have a common interest in obtaining permanent seats on the United Nations (UN) Security Council.
From Nigeria President Lula will travel to Ghana, one of the major focuses of Brazil’s foreign trade policy. Ghana is the fourth largest importer of Brazilian products in sub-Saharan Africa, behind only South Africa, Nigeria, and Angola. Trade between Brazil and Ghana rose from around US$ 30 million in 2002 to approximately US$ 105 million in 2003.
Lula will go next to Guinea-Bissau, one of the Portuguese-speaking nations in Africa. Political relations between the two countries have become closer in recent years. Brazil even contributed to the stabilization of Guinea-Bissau by offering technical assistance for the electoral process.
The last African country the President plans to visit is Senegal, the first part of West Africa to receive Brazilian help in combatting locusts, a pest that has an enormous negative impact on agricultural activity on the continent. The new negotiating agenda should include projects for integration in the commercial and transportation sectors.
Translation: David Silberstein