Brazil and the lusophone strategy in Africa

The world is watching diverse global changes taking place due to the decreased quoted price on a barrel of petroleum oil that is strongly affecting economies depending on this fossil fuel such as: Venezuela, Nigeria, Angola, Russia etc. And here, the impact has deeply affected the feasibility of exploiting the Pre-salt layer and this occurs at a moment that coincides with the reformulation process Petrobrás is undergoing. The consequence unfortunately is the postponement of social benefits that this economic activity would provide our population. In other impacted countries,the effects from this price drop have been disastrous, imposing even more sacrifices on the more impoverish populations. It is urgent that the leaders of those nations drastically awake and become conscious of the need for diversifying their economies, as that is the only plausible pathway for consistent and sustainable long term development. Discourse on economic diversification quickly becomes less of a priority in plentiful times and thus the exploitation of oil and gas reigns favoring the elite few and in detriment to the lower social majority on the base of the economic pyramid. Especially in Africa, in order to achieve food self-sufficiency, construction of a productive fabric, social inclusion through education, professional capabilities, construction and reconstruction of physical and digital infrastructures, the enhancement and maturation of the participative process, and democratization of the populations, improvement in income distribution, and strictness in the fight against corruption; these factors define the obvious pathways for a considerable change in the threshold and definite establishment of development, raising the HDI (Human Development Index) and establishment of Regional Peace. That is the Africa, we all dream of, a bastion of prosperity, the rebirth of a civilization matrix, deserver of all the dignity and playing a role in world decisions.

Almost a year ago, I was honored by being nominated as the Official Representative in Brazil for the Enterprising Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries in Africa — CE-PALOP. The Organization headquarters is in Luanda that is the enterprising arm of the PA-LOP Forum where the six African country Chiefs of Staff meet — the Lusophone group of nations are led by the President of Angola. The president of CE-PALOP is Francisco Vianna, who has been revealed as a shield fighting for the causes of the Africans and establishing a pragmatic agenda focused on economic and social development of the member countries: Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Sao Tomé and Principe, Cape Verde, and Mozambique. His intention for establishing the Brazilian delegation is for the country to harness the gigantic opportunities that the economic and social development of these countries have in store for us. They recognize us due to our great agribusinss, mining, industrial, commercial, and services and wish to establish pragmatic business relations capable of generating authentic and fair economic benefits. For them, the establishment of Brazilian companies in the region is synonymous to the absorption of “knowhow”, increased employment and income, generation of competencies, economic diversification, increased productivity, increased supply chains to their market, added value to goods produced, and increased exportation inserted in their economies in a global context.

In my experience regarding the coordination of the Brazilian International Trade and Investment Promotion Agency — Apex Brasil, from 2008 to 2011, I led dozens of business initiatives and missions in the African continent. I participated in governmental and especially business negotiations and I had always notices an enormous difficulty by Brazilians in establishing long-term relations with their African counterparts. The main reasons were always pointed out as: the high risk of default payment, different cultures, legal insecurities and among other reasons. The main purpose for the emergence of CE-PALOP is to relieve these barriers. The intention is to organize the positioning and interlocution among investors, exporters, and representative entities from Brazil based on the strategic themes as defined by the PALOP Forum. The priorities are defined as secure supply of food, energy security, industrial development, consolidation of financial institutions, and the urgent formation of training staffs among us. Firstly, we are speaking about sister countries through our rich Portuguese language linkage. Emphasizing the scope of the CPLP– Portuguese-Speaking Countries in Africa, as Brazil grouped with PA-LOP is the greatest absolute majority of 250 million speakers of this precious language. We are very conditioned to the immense “continent” named Brazil and we forget about the power of “Negotiating in Portuguese Overseas”.


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