Sudan Wants Partnership with Brazil in Oil, Agriculture and Aviation

Embrapa Omer Salih, the new Sudanese ambassador to Brazil, Omer Salih Abubakr, wants to promote technology transfer from Brazil to Sudan. He highlighted three large Brazilian companies that attract the interest of the Arab country: The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), Petrobras, which operates in the oil sector, and Embraer, for aircraft.

"Our dream is to have Brazil as our partner," stated the ambassador, who was inaugurated in the post early this month, replacing Rahamtalla Mohamed Osman.

According to Abubakr, the two countries have many similarities, which favors trade relations. In the agricultural area, for example, Sudan has 500 million hectares of arable land, the largest territory in Africa and 140 million animals, including cows, camels and sheep.

"We would like to form a partnership with Embrapa and have an (Embrapa) office in Khartoum," stated the ambassador.

Like Brazil, Sudan has a large sugarcane production and is very much interested in the Brazilian ethanol manufacturing technology. According to the ambassador, the two countries do not need to worry about using land to plant sugarcane for ethanol production.

"It is a different case than that of other countries that use corn (for production), for instance," he claimed, alluding to claims that high food prices are a consequence of biofuels. "We are taking sides with Brazil," he asserted.

The ambassador is going to seek a partnership with Petrobras as well. "The discovery of oil (in Sudan) is recent. Currently, 70% of the country's income stems from petroleum," said Abubakr. According to him, by the end of the year, Sudan is going to export 1 million barrels of oil.

"We need Petrobras' experience," he claimed. The third sector in which the ambassador wishes to work is aviation. "We would like to learn from and cooperate with this company, which is growing a lot," he said of Embraer.

Abubakr, who visited the head office of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce in São Paulo, talked to the president at the organization, Antonio Sarkis Jr, and called for closer relations between the private sectors in the two countries.

"We must have Brazilian missions to Sudan. The country is very attractive to foreign investment," stated the ambassador. He also claimed that he intends to implement several projects along with the Arab Brazilian Chamber, so as to create a bridge between businessmen.

According to the ambassador, Sudan touches borders with 10 different countries, among them Saudi Arabia (on the other side of the Red Sea), Libya and Egypt. "Brazil may use Sudan in order to enter those other countries.

We might sign a trade agreement to make exports easier," asserted Abubakr. "Africa is a green continent that still has a lot to be explored," he stated. Oil, diamonds, gold, phosphate and lands rank among its main attractions.

From January to June, Brazilian exports to Sudan totaled US$ 24.1 million, as against US$ 22.5 million in the same period last year. The main products shipped were whole milk, tobacco, agricultural machinery, meats and medication.

In turn, Brazilian imports from the Arab country totaled US$ 144,500 in the first six months this year, as against US$ 34,600 in the same period of 2007.

"Sudan imports a lot from Brazil, and we want to work in order to even the balance," said the ambassador. Ovine skins, gum Arabic and plants for cosmetics and pharmaceutical products were the main Sudanese products imported by Brazil.



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