Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva attended, this morning in Rome, the funeral ceremony of Pope John Paul II. Poland-born Karol Wojtyla passed away last Saturday, April 2, at 84, after a 26-year pontificate.
Lula meets today the President of Cuba’s National Assembly, Ricardo Alarcón, at the Brazilian Embassy in Rome. Afterwards, Lula will also have meetings with the Presidents of Austria, Heinz Fischer, and of Mozambique, Armando Emílio Guebuza.
The Brazilian President will stay in the Italian capital until Sunday, April 10, when he will fly to The Republic of Cameroon, in Africa, the first stop of a visit to five countries of the African continent.
He will visit the Republic of Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, and Senegal. This is the President’s fourth trip to Africa since his inauguration, in 2003.
Several agreements negotiated in the last two years with African governments will be consolidated next week, by the presidential delegation.
The Director of the Department of Africa of Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Relations, Ambassador Pedro Motta, says that the President’s intention is to give continuity to cooperation projects, especially in the social arena.
Partnerships will be intensified in the areas of health, education, and agriculture. “These are areas where we can offer high-level quality cooperation to African countries; we have the conditions to do it, and it means a lot to them,” evaluates Motta.
During the trip, Lula will announce the creation of 100 scholarships for African students at Brazilian universities. Today, approximately 700 young Africans come to Brazil to study. Lack of financial support make many go back home before finishing school.
The expectation of the Brazilian government is that the permanence of these students in Brazil may attract African professors to teach in Brazil.
The presidential delegation must already close agreements with Nigeria and Cameroon, so faculty of these countries can come to Brazil to promote courses on African history and culture, at Brazilian schools and universities.
Translation: Andréa Alves