Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff pledged to raise investment in Bulgaria, her ancestral homeland, in renewable energy, aviation and the oil industry.
Rousseff arrived to the capital Sofia late Tuesday after meeting European Union officials in Brussels, accompanied by representatives from Brazil’s biggest companies, including state-controlled oil company Petrobras and mining company Vale, both based in Rio de Janeiro.
Rousseff, whose late father Pedro Rousseff immigrated to Brazil after leaving Bulgaria before World War II, is on her first visit to the eastern European nation of 7.3 million, where her election last year was widely celebrated. Prime Minister Boiko Borissov gave her a family tree during her inauguration on Jan. 1.
“I am surrounded by a lot of love since I arrived, which makes me feel connected to the people in Bulgaria because of my genetic links and the memory of my father,” Rousseff told reporters in Sofia today.
“My country sees in Bulgaria a strong ally in the region, where we would like to expand and strengthen our presence.”
To boost bilateral trade from 147 million dollars last year, Rousseff wants to sell Brazilian-made buses to Bulgaria, and Sao Jose dos Campos plane maker Embraer SA is looking to expand its presence, her spokesman, Rodrigo Baena, said on September.
“I am determined to turn around the negative trend and increase opportunities for joint projects between Brazilian and Bulgarian businesses,” Rousseff said.
“There are many options for cooperation in agriculture, renewable energy, aviation and oil industries.”
Rousseff’s delegation includes Foreign minister Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Development, industry and foreign trade minister Fernando Pimentel, and minister of Social communication Secretariat Helena Chagas.
This is the first visit by a Brazilian head of state in Bulgaria since the two countries established diplomatic relations about 50 years ago.
Bilateral agreements on co-operation in economic matters and in information technology were scheduled to be signed in the presence of the two presidents.
The Brazilian president was also awarded Bulgaria’s highest state honor, the Order of Stara Planina, first class.
Expanded business with Latin America’s biggest economy could help Bulgaria, the EU poorest country in terms of economic output per capita, cope with dwindling foreign investment and slow economic recovery.