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Lula speaks about a strong “global south” before African leaders

Monday, February 19th 2024 - 10:49 UTC
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Brazil has more trade opportunities with developing countries than with European countries, Lula underlined Brazil has more trade opportunities with developing countries than with European countries, Lula underlined

Brazilian President Luís Inácio Lula da Silva said on Sunday that his country has a historic debt with Africa and advocated for stronger ties among “Global South” nations during his appearance as a guest at the 37th African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, Agencia Brasil reported.

The South American leader attended the event as pro tempore president of the G20, to which the 54-member AU was admitted last year, and will therefore be attending this year's summit in Rio de Janeiro.

“Brazil doesn't have everything, but everything Brazil has, we want to share with the African continent. We want to give back to them, in the form of possibilities and development, what they gave us as a workforce for 350 years,” said Lula, referring to the period during which slavery lasted in Brazil. The count goes from the arrival of the first enslaved blacks in Recife in 1538 until the signing of the Golden Law in 1888.

Lula called for Brazil to have a preferential relationship with the African continent and for strategic partnerships to be developed involving the energy transition, low-carbon agriculture, and other issues regarding the climate question. “Not only because Africa is part of our history, our culture, our color, and our way of being, speaking, and singing. But also because the African continent is an extraordinary space of the future for those who believe that the global south will be the new thing of the 21st century in the world economy,” he said.

The Brazilian president linked the difficulties faced by Africa to colonization. “This goes back to the Berlin Conference of 1884, when Africa was divided up by the countries of the Old Continent, for England, for France and above all for Germany. Africa was self-sufficient in producing its own food. After colonization, these countries, many of them, ceased to be self-sufficient and today depend on the food that comes from the former colonizers,” he noted.

For Lula, countries of the southern hemisphere must strengthen themselves by expanding business with each other. “We were once known around the world as poor countries, as third world countries, as underdeveloped countries, as developing countries. No. Now we are the economy of the global south. We want to give ourselves a chance so that the global south, which has part of what the world needs today, can take its place in the world economy, politics, and culture.”

Lula also underlined that the AU Summit gave him the chance to meet with leaders from all over the continent in one single journey. “If I were to visit every country, it would take 54 trips and it would be impossible to do.”

The Brazilian leader held talks with Kenya's President William Ruto, who expressed his country's interest in Brazil's agricultural machinery. Another meeting, with the President of the Presidential Council of Libya, Mohamed al-Menfi, discussed the reopening of the Brazilian embassy in the country, which has been closed since 2014. Lula also criticized the lack of direct flights between Brazil and Nigeria during his meeting with President Bola Tinubu.

According to Lula, Brazilians involved in trade need to travel more around the world in search of business. He said that today's Brazil has more opportunities to trade with developing countries than with European countries. “There's no explanation for a country of 200 million inhabitants like Brazil to have relations with Ethiopia, which has 126 million inhabitants, and for us to only have a trade flow of 23 million dollars. Even with Egypt, with whom we have our largest trade balance in Africa, it was US$ 2.8 billion. That's very little for a country that wants to have a voice in the world,” he said.

(Source: Agencia Brasil)

Categories: Politics, Brazil, International.
Tags: Lula da Silva.

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