Madam Dilma Rousseff, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, paid a State visit to Nigeria from 22 – 23 February, 2013 to foster bilateral relations.
Nigeria and Brazil yesterday in Abuja signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) covering agriculture and food security, petroleum, power, bio-fuel, trade and investment, mining, education, aviation, infrastructure management, finance and culture.
It was the high-point of the visit of President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil to Nigeria.
President Goodluck Jonathan said at the end of bilateral talks between the two countries that a bi-national commission will be set to implement the MoU.
The MoU, according to him, will be used to “leverage on the economy of our people, improve the lot of unemployed young men and women and make sure Nigerians and Brazilians are happy people.”
Also speaking, President Rousseff said: “Our exchanges have actually outgrown significantly between 2009 and 2012, years marked by crises. Our trade exchanges have grown and for 2012 the figures come to $9billion.”
“We agreed that we must diversify and make it a more balanced trade.”
Later in a communiqué, the two leaders directed their ministers of foreign affairs to commence the immediate implementation of the agreement.
It said:”Both sides expressed their readiness and strong commitment to expand cooperation in various fields and promote the growth of the partnership between the two countries in line with the principles of mutual benefit, mutual respect and mutual interest.
“The two leaders instructed that the joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation between Nigeria and Brazil should convene the 7th meeting scheduled to hold in Abuja as soon as possible to follow up the outcomes of President Rousseff’s visit to Nigeria.
“Both Presidents welcomed the positive trends in the development of their bilateral trade and pledged to work together towards attaining a more balanced, diverse and mutually beneficial trade relationship.
“The two presidents noted the importance of implementing bilateral air services agreement (BASA) and agreed that the facility of direct air links between the two countries will encourage better people to people exchanges and enhance trade between Brazil and Nigeria.
They therefore underscored the need to take appropriate measures to promote the re-establishment of direct air links between the two countries.
“The two leaders noted the significant roles played by the two countries in the maintenance of peace and security in their respective regions and expressed readiness to work together to promote international peace and security, democracy as well as development.”
In the area of Political and Security Cooperation, the Presidents agreed to “encourage exchange of visits by officials in the Defence and Security sectors with a view to boosting cooperation in these areas; to promote training cooperation involving military officers of both countries by encouraging participation of Brazilian and Nigerian military officers in training programmes at the staff colleges of both countries.”
On the crisis in Guinea-Bissau and Mali, they pledged their support for “the global approach to the solution of the Malian crisis, as set out by the ECOWAS, African Union and the United Nations Security Council.
“They commended the efforts of the international community, the ECOWAS and the neighbouring countries aimed at supporting the Malian people in restoring its national unity and territorial integrity, building democratic institutions and fighting the twin scourges of terrorism and organised crime.”
They also expressed serious concern on the present political and institutional crisis in Guinea Bissau and the deterioration of the socio-economic and humanitarian situation of its people”.
The leaders also discussed the importance of cultural and educational exchange programs in solidifying closer ties and friendship between Nigeria and Brazil as they instructed the Ministers of Education of both countries to work through existing MoU or establish a relevant one on cultural and education exchange cooperation.
The Brazilian President was coming from Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, where she attended the just concluded Africa-South America Summit.
President Jonathan also attended the Malabo summit.