The President of Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso, started an official visit to Brasil yesterday. Nguesso and various cabinet members of his government will remain in Brazil until June 19.
During his stay in Brasilia, Nguesso will meet president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and visit the Brazilian Congress and Supreme Court. He will also meet with the president of the Brazilian Farm Research Corporation (Embrapa).
Nguesso will meet with Brazilian business leaders in Rio and São Paulo, including the directors of Petrobras and the Vale do Rio Doce Company.
According to the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, the Nguesso visit is part of Brazil’s efforts to strengthen relations with Africa, “one of the priorities of the Lula administration.”
The president of Congo is seen in Brasília as an active African president who is a leader in preventing and resolving conflicts on the continent.
Brazil and Congo have had diplomatic relations since 1980. A Brazilian construction firm, Andrade Gutierrez, built an important road in Congo some years ago after the two countries established diplomatic relations.
Brazilian exports to Congo have risen over the years, reaching US$ 21.5 million in 2004. Brazil’s main export item to Congo, and to Africa as a whole, is industrialized foodstuff, but the list of exports have been expanding.
On the other hand, Congo has large reserves of petroleum and gas. Mining and lumber is also important. Brazil is interested in developing closer ties with the Congo economy. Last year, at the end of July, a Brazilian business mission was in Brazzaville, the Congo capital.