The essence of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s trip to five African countries this past week was the agreements and political contacts. A total of nine cooperation agreements in the areas of research, education, and health were signed.
In the opinion of the Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, they represent a first step to obtain economic and trading repercussions in the future.
“We are practically reestablishing our relationship with Africa. There is a great possibility of increasing trading, but Rome was not built in a single day,” said Amorim. “There is a British saying that states that trade follows the flag. The presence of the flag is fundamental.”
In addition to boosting trading, the mission had the medium and long-term objective of bringing back to a balanced level commercial relations between Brazil, The Republic of Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, and Senegal.
Excepting to Nigeria, in all these countries Brazil buys more than sells. Worried with this situation, Lula reiterated in all countries visited that commercial relations must be a two-way lane.
“We don’t want a relationship in which Brazil is the only one to benefit. We want a balanced relationship, in which we sell, as well as we buy,” repeated the president.
Since the beginning of his mandate, Lula has visited 14 African countries, more than all previous Brazilian presidents, according to Celso Amorim. During this period, commercial interaction between Brazil and Africa increased.
According to the Ministry of Development, Industry, and Foreign Trading, from 2003 to 2004, trade balance jumped from US$ 6.137 billion to US$ 10.43 billion.
Brazilian exports to the region went up 48.42%, totaling US$ 4.24 billion. Imported products reached US$ 6.18 billion – 88.75% more than in 2003.
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