Visit by the Brazilian Foreign Minister, Celso Luiz Nunes Amorim
Except from his opening statement on his meeting at the African Development Bank (AfDB)
“With the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group our discussion focused on how to deepen Brazil’s cooperation ties with Africa, using the institutions available to us such as our Development Bank (BNDS), our Agricultural Research Institute and the AfDB on the African side. We discussed different possibilities, even a memorandum of understanding between Brazil’s National Development Bank and the AfDB. I invited the AfDB President to visit Brazil.
I did point to some projects Brazil is already carrying out in Africa with regard to technical cooperation and productive investments. I would like to mention just a few. For example, we are currently developing a model firm for cotton production in Mali in order to serve the four cotton producing countries that depend on cotton exports and are facing stiff competition due to American and European subsidies. We are currently installing an anti-retroviral manufacturing factory to help efforts at combating HIV/AIDS in Mozambique. We are developing projects in the areas of energy, agriculture and regional infrastructure for several African countries. This is already taking place at the level of economic projects as well as in the cooperation among Brazilian financial institutions and between the AfDB, as well as with institutions such as our Brazilian Agricultural Research Institute (EMBRAPA) which is in Accra (very useful cooperation).
Africa has become a major priority in Brazil’s foreign policy. To gain a better understanding, our trade with the continent before the Lula government took office stood at about $5 billion. Today, it stands at $25 billion. It is indeed a dramatic increase in 6-7 years. All of this is testimony to the existing potential for cooperation with the AfDB. I have invited President Kaberuka to visit Brazil and since he will also be in New York during the UN General Assembly meeting, we will seek to continue discussions in this regard.”
Interview with Brazil’s Foreign Affairs Minister
Question: Mr. Minister, as part of your visit to Tunis on September 2, 2009, you have met with the African Development Bank (AfDB) President. In this regard, what impact do you want to have on the synergy between Brazil and the AfDB at a time when the institution is providing concrete responses to the financial crisis that has not spared African countries?
Answer: With the AfDB president, we discussed the G-20. We also focused on proposals to facilitate “trade finance”, with emphasis on developing countries, especially for least developed countries. Obviously, many least developed countries are in Africa. This is a point President Lula has always underscored during G-20 Summits. Besides that, since you are talking of a synergy, I am thinking of closer cooperation between Brazilian financing institutions, especially with the Development Bank (BNDS) which in Brazil is a very important bank. The total number of loans granted by our development bank is greater than that of the World Bank. These investments are in Brazil, but they have begun having an impact out of the country – South America and also in Africa. Obviously, one of the issues we faced in the past regarding the granting of loans at favorable rates was the issue of collateral. I am not an expert on this issue, but an aspect of the cooperation between the Brazilian Development Bank and the AfDB will be to find ways of having complementary guarantees that can help reduce interest rates.
Question: What is Brazil’s position regarding a possible AfDB capital increase?
Answer: Brazil has clearly made its stance known during the G-20 Summit for a capital increase for all regional banks. Obviously, Africa’s case is the most urgent situation. However, the question is how much should the increase be? That is well above my powers, but we are in favor of an increase and we will, after all, be available.