Brazil plans to establish a regular line of Brazilian Air Force (FAB) flights to Africa, at intervals of two to three months. The first – a C-130, Hercules aircraft – left Sunday, April 9, carrying medicine, educational material, computers, uniforms, and other donations.
It destination was Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, and the Ivory Coast. The mission to Africa represents a partnership between the Air Force and the Ministry of Foreign Relations.
"Our intention is for it to become a regular operation, one that will contribute greatly to what we are doing in countries where communications are difficult," emphasized the ministry of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, just before the Hercules departed.
According to the minister, regular FAB flights would benefit students and scholarship holders. They would also stimulate technical and military cooperation between Brazil and the African countries.
On the first flight the FAB is transporting generic anti-retroviral drugs for the programs developed in Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau to combat HIV/AIDS. These medications are sent periodically.
The cargo also includes equipment and material for the professional training centers set up by the National Industrial Apprenticeship Service (SENAI) in the cities of Praia (Cape Verde) and Bissau, in addition to educational material for the School for All program for the visually deficient established by the Brazilian Ministry of Education in Cape Verde.
There are also computers that will be donated to the Guinea-Bissau Court of Justice and will be used at the 6th Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP), in July.
Brazil also sent uniforms to the Guinea-Bissau Army. According to Amorim, there are prospects for an agreement in the military sphere, in which Brazil will provide training to the Guinea-Bissau armed forces.
"It is a country that needs a lot of support for the professionalization of the armed forces, which arose in guerrilla warfare and lacks professional training compatible with modern military doctrine," the chancellor explained.
Brazilian military personnel went to Guinea-Bissau precisely for the purpose of assessing what cooperation measures the Brazilian armed forces can execute in that country.
The flight was also accompanied by Ministry of Foreign Relations officials to provide consular support to communities of Brazilians and students from Guinea-Bissau who return to their country after finishing university studies in Brazil.
According to Amorim, there should be more official visits by the Brazilian government to Africa between now and the end of the year. One of them will occur during the CPLP meeting. The other might take place in November in the form of a meeting between South American and African countries.
The minister also revealed that the Brazilian Agricultural Research Company (EMBRAPA) intends to open an office in Africa. "Our relationship with Africa is very intense," he stressed.