Brazil’s President arrives to boost economic ties
Handout picture released by the Brazilian presidency of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva receiving a flower bouquet during the welcoming ceremony in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on July 04, 2010. Lula da Silva is on a tour in Africa.
By NATION Reporter and Agencies
Posted Monday, July 5 2010 at 21:00
Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva arrived in Nairobi on Monday evening on the third leg of his tour of Africa aimed at deepening economic ties with the continent.
Economists maintain that compelling commercial incentives are key drivers of President Lula’s whirlwind trip.
Brazil belongs to a group of countries whose fast growing economies are forcing them to expand their spheres of influence in the world. The other countries in this bloc known as Bric are Russia, India and China.
“Over the next 50 years, the Brics economies could become a much larger force in the world economy,” said Goldman Sachs in their global outlook report released in May this year.
Just like its other Brics economies, critical to Brazil’s re-emergence on the global stage has been the scintillating growth in exports, which have increased by 13.2 per cent yearly since 2000.
Kenya opened an embassy in Brazil for the first time ever in 2008 and trade ties have improved since then, with national carrier Kenya Airways buying passenger jets made in the South American country.
The Brazilian leader, the first to visit Kenya, is expected to meet President Kibaki, National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende and other leaders.
Commercial exchanges between Brazil and African countries have nearly tripled during Mr Lula’s tenure.
According to economists at the Standard Bank Group, having engaged in its own ‘green revolution’ since the 1970s, Brazil is actively positioning itself to partner Africa in the vital process of boosting energy and food security in the coming decades.
“Also central to Brazil’s own agricultural and economic renewal has been the development of a strong biofuels industry, which it hopes to expand into fertile African markets,” said economists at the group, which operates in Kenya as CfC Stanbic, Simon Freemantle and Jeremy Stevens.
In a report in February this year, they said Africa’s vast untapped potential offers significant opportunities for Brazil’s food and ethanol exporters and technical experts in the agricultural and biofuels industries.
“While Brazil has significant and growing interests in African oil, centred on Nigeria and Angola, biofuels and agriculture will undeniably play a more crucial role in Brazil-Africa relations in the 21st century,” they said in a report titled Bric and Africa: Brazil Weds itself to Africa’s Latent Agricultural Potential.
Sources said President Lula could become the first foreign head of state to address the Kenyan Parliament although nothing had been decided by Monday night.
The first leg of President Lula’s African tour took him to Malabo in Equatorial Guinea, where he met President Teodoro Obiang Nguema.
Later, Mr Lula went to Cape Verde, where he attended a summit of the Economic Community of West African States.
From Kenya, the Brazilian leader will go to Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa, where he will attend the World Cup final on July 11, despite Brazil crashing out to The Netherlands in the quarter finals.
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