Brazilian President’s Latest African Tour Starts in Algeria

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Algiers, where he will meet president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, on the first stage of a trip to four African countries. In Algeria, Lula will sign agreements on maritime transportation, commerce and agriculture.

Algeria is now Brazil’s second biggest trade partner in Africa, with bilateral commerce at around US$ 3 billion.

Accompanying the president are the ministers of Mines and Energy, Silas Rondeau; Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, Luiz Fernando Furlan; Health, Saraiva Felipe; Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim; Special Secretariat for Racial Equality (Seppir); Matilde Ribeiro; National Integration, Ciro Gomes; Sports, Agnelo Queiroz; and the executive secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Luí­s Carlos Guedes Pinto.

Tomorrow evening Lula leaves Algeria for Benin, followed by Botswana and South Africa. The president will return to Brazil on Sunday, February 12.

Algeria Trade

Lula, in an interview published this morning in Algerian newspapers, the first stop on a four-country trip to Africa, declared that "Brazil and Algeria need a more solid relationship."

Lula said the business communities and the governments in both countries need to know each other better, more deeply, so trade can grow through what he called "viable options," that would be discovered jointly.

Lula pointed out that Brazil has a trade deficit with Algeria of close to US$ 2.5 billion (Brazil imports US$ 2.8 billion in Algerian goods (mostly petroleum) and exports only US$ 384 million).

Lula called for more trade in agriculture and greater involvement of small businesses in other commercial areas, including the use of computers in public administration. Lula also said that the country’s two state-run petroleum giants, Petrobras and Sonatrach, could work together in partnerships, in Brazil or other countries.

Health and Education

On his fifth trip to Africa, the Brazilian President and the seven ministers who are travelling with him will be focused on trade, agriculture, health and education.

According to Brazil’s Foreign Ministry, in each of the four countries they visit, Algeria, Benin, Botswana and South Africa, agreements will be signed in those areas. In South Africa, Lula will participate in a Progressive Governance Summit.

Bilateral trade with the four African countries Lula will visit this week totaled almost US$ 5 billion in 2005, most of it with Algeria (close to US$ 3 billion, with Brazil running a large deficit because most of its imports are petroleum) and South Africa (approximately US$ 1.5 billion, with Brazil running a large surplus through exports of chicken, soy oil, vehicles and autoparts). Trade with Benin and Botswana is small but has room for growth.

ABr

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