Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff will be attending next Saturday in Ethiopia the fiftieth celebration of the African Unions Organization that preceded the African Union, (AU) and will be one of the main speakers on the opening day.
“President Rousseff is travelling to participate in the commemoration and to reaffirm the close links Brazil has established with Africa in the last decade”, said Foreign minister Antonio Patriota.
Brazil has with dozens of African countries cooperation programs in different fields with emphasis in agriculture, health, bio-fuels, oil and gas, environment, trade and education and in the last decade has promoted political relations opening 19 new embassies and totalling 37 in the continent.
Brasilia is also the Latinamerican capital with more African embassies, 18 while trade has soared from 5 billion dollars in 2000 to over 26.5bn last year.
This is the third trip of president Rousseff to Africa so far this year, because according to Minister Patriota, Brazil has a ‘strategic interest’ in the continent.
Last February Rousseff visited Equatorial Guinea for the third summit of South America and Africa countries and followed with an official visit to Nigeria. In March the Brazilian head of state attended the BRICS summit in South Africa next to the leaders from China, Russia, India and host South Africa.
Precisely this week, Patriota revealed during a seminar on Brazil-Africa relations that next year BRICS will formalize the creation of a development bank to promote credit and investments in the less developed countries.
Patriota said many African countries are much interested in the bank since it would offer ‘more attractive conditions’ than those from multilateral financial institutions.
In the cultural field there are also growing close links between Brazil and Africa, given the deep historic roots (half the Brazilian population has African blood from the time of slavery) and have expanded academically with the foundation of the Federal University for the Luso-Afro-Brazilian integration in 2011.
The university financed by Brazil operates in the northeast city of Fortaleza and currently has 200 students from all over Africa.
Precisely on Saturday the university has scheduled a full weekend of activities emphasizing the close links and the commemoration of the second anniversary of Unilab and the fifty years of the African Union.
As a former Portuguese colony Brazil has a particular strategic interest over the former Lisbon African colonies (Angola, Mozambique, etc) given the shared language and culture, and for this purpose has launched an educational satellite to further promote those links.