Brazil will sign various agreements with the five African countries that are being visited by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, between Monday, April 11, and Thursday, April 14.
According to the Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, in some countries the emphasis will be on commercial matters. In others, on cultural or political affairs, depending upon each country’s potential.
“We try to maintain a balanced relationship, without discriminating between large and small countries,” the Chancellor declared in an interview shortly after his arrival in the Cameroon Republic on Sunday, April 10.
The mission includes stops in the Cameroon Republic, Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, and Senegal.
Amorim recalled that President Lula named Africa as a foreign policy priority in his inaugural address on January 1, 2003.
With this trip, Lula will have visited 14 African countries since the beginning of his term – more than all previous Brazilian presidents together, according to Amorim. Trade exchanges between Brazil and Africa have gained great momentum during this period.
According to data from the Ministry of Development, Industry, and Foreign Trade, Brazilian exports to Africa grew 48.42% between 2003 and 2004, to a total of US$ 4.24 billion. Imports from Africa over the same period rose 88.75%, to US$ 6.18 billion.
“Mostly we import petroleum from Nigeria, and we export various items on a quite distributed basis,” the Minister explained. “In some countries, such as Cameroon, the trade relationship is still small, in the range of US$ 30 million, but there is great potential,” he assured.
Multilateral issues should appear on the agenda in all the countries that will be visited.
Reform of the United Nations (UN) will be discussed, according to the Minister, because it is a theme that is at the center of public attention.
In his reception speech last night to welcome President Lula, the President of Cameroon, Paul Biya, declared his support for Brazil’s candidacy for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.