Arabs Learn from Brazil How to Reduce Poverty

A Brazilian woman flashes her Bolsa FamÀ­lia (Family Grant) card The government of Brazil is going to present its public social policies to the Arab countries this week, in Cairo, the capital of Egypt. The minister of Social Development and Hunger Alleviation, Patrus Ananias, is going to participate on Wednesday, May 2, and Thursday, May 3, in a meeting between ministers of the social area of the Arab and South American countries.

The meeting is part of the agenda for follow-up of the Summit of South American – Arab Countries, a meeting between heads of state of both regions that took place in May 2005 in Brazil. According to the follow-up manager for Summit affairs at the Brazilian Foreign Office (Itamaraty), í‚nuar Nahes, this is the first South American and Arab ministerial meeting to discuss the social theme.

"The meeting will be used for exchange of experiences in the social programs developed by the countries involved, which have similar levels of development and problems," stated Nahes, who should accompany the minister on the trip.

One of the Brazilian programs of which minister Ananias is going to speak, according to press material issued by the Ministry for Social Development and Hunger Alleviation, is the Zero Hunger (Fome Zero) program, which is part of the Family Purse (Bolsa Famí­lia) program.

It is an income transfer program for impoverished families, which benefits 11 million families in Brazil, and has been mentioned as a model for other countries and international organizations.

According to Nahes, the Zero Hunger may interest the Arabs. According to information disclosed by the Ministry for Social Development, Egypt is one of the countries that has shown interest in the program. The World Bank presented to the Arab country, in 2005, the Family Purse, as well as a Mexican project, as forms to alleviate poverty and promote social inclusion.

The meeting in Cairo will include authorities from 34 Arab and South American countries. Topics to be discussed will include, as well as social programs for the reduction of poverty, other themes connected to the millennium development goals, specified by the United Nations (UN). The targets include from the improvement of primary education to the reduction of global diseases.

Brazilian minister Patrus Ananias is going to participate in the opening of the meeting, on Wednesday, and he will also participate in the discussions during the meeting and the closing, on Thursday.

The special spokesperson for the Zero Hunger at the Ministry, Adriana Aranha, is also going to accompany the minister and will participate, today and tomorrow, in preparatory meetings with specialists.

Currently, there are in Brazil 62 million people benefited by programs promoted by the Ministry of Social Development. The country is renowned for its grave social problems, but now, during the term in office of president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, is also gaining international prominence for the social programs created to fight them.

Anba – www.anba.com.br

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