Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva kept official commitments today, the last day of his trip to the African continent. He paid homage to Senegalese soldiers killed in the the First and Second World Wars.
Accompanied by the President of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade, Lula was greeted by the local population, which gathered in the streets waving Brazilian and Senegalese flags.
The entourage visited the island of Goree, from which slaves departed for the Americas, and then the President met with the Brazilian community.
Senegal is one of Brazil’s traditional partners in Africa. Senegalese President Wade, who assumed the government in 2000, has tried to foment the relationship with Brazil:
Besides mentioning Brazil in his inaugural address as one of his foreign policy priorities, Wade authorized the reopening of Senegal’s Embassy in Brasília in 2001. The embassy had been closed since 1995.
Trade between the two countries grew around 150% between 2002 and 2004. Brazil had a US$ 72.91 million surplus in last year’s total trade figure of US$ 75.52 million.
Bilateral technical cooperation has also been expanding: Brazil was actively involved in the campaign to combat locusts, donating an Ipanema crop-duster plane, preparing and training Senegalese professionals, and signing the Protocol of Intentions on Technical Cooperation in the Domain of Biological Control of Locusts, when the Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, visited Dakar in January.
In December, 2004, the Brazilian government negotiated the rescheduling and pardoning of 60% of Senegal’s US$ 5 million debt to Brazil.
Bilateral acts were ratified by the two countries, and a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Brazilian National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) and the ART (Senegalese Regulatory Agency), providing for the exchange of experiences in the areas of administration of the sector, budget management, human resources, and infrastructure.
Agreements were also signed in the cultural area and for the elimination of diplomatic and service visas between the two countries.