President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil participated yesterday, November 30, in the opening of the Africa-South America Summit, in Nigeria, and stated that the African continent will be a priority in his next term in office.
"Presently, Africa is of the highest priority for Brazil. Since the beginning of my term, I have visited 17 African countries and received 15 of the region’s leaders, in addition to having re-established 12 Brazilian embassies," said Lula in his speech.
He claimed that the trade between the two continents increased 110% over the last four years, and that during his second term he will further deepen Brazil’s partnership with African countries. During the summit, attended by representatives of 58 African and South American countries, Lula asked for support to ensure the enlargement of the United Nations Security Council.
"We need to adapt institutions to our times. The UN reform is essential in order to face new challenges. The Security Council reflects an international status quo that no longer exists. Its enlargement, with new permanent and non-permanent seats for developing countries, is the key for making it more legitimate and democratic."
In the economic field, Lula said that investment in production of biofuels, such as biodiesel, H-Bio and alcohol, might be the key to African development. The president underscored the importance of the summit, which for the first time brought together leaders from both continents. "This summit marks the beginning of a new chapter in the history of South-South relations," he said.
Towards the end of his speech, Lula urged African and South American leaders to unite. "There will be no solution to our political, economic and social problems if we continue to act alone. The solution is collective, and requires strategic programs. Otherwise, we will reach the end of 21st century just as we did the 20th".
Next up, the president of Libya, Muammar Gadafi, highlighted the importance of the summit, as well as the need to reform the UN Security Council.
"It is time for us to move faster and meet challenges, to stop being mere suppliers of raw material and to become industrialized," said the Libyan Head of State, who made a point of expressing his support to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who could not attend the summit because of the upcoming elections, to be held next Sunday.