Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff on Saturday paid a state visit to Nigeria at the invitation of President Goodluck Jonathan to boost energy ties initiated by President Jonathan when he visited Rio last year.
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Nigeria is Brazil’s main commercial partner in Africa, with bilateral trade soaring from $1.5 billion (1.1 billion euros) in 2002 to $9 billion last year.
Brazil’s state-owned oil company Petrobras has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Nigeria’s coal, oil, natural gas and alternative energy sectors.
Speaking after her meeting with Jonathan, Rousseff said, “Petrobras… has its intention to further expand involvement in Nigeria.”
“We also want to establish (a) partnership covering hydroelectricity,” she continued.
Highlight of the visit was the signing of a MoU establishing a mechanism for strategic dialogue that will set up a bi-national commission to fashion out the areas the two countries will be impacting on each other.
The areas to be covered in the MoU include agriculture and food security, petroleum, power, biofuel, trade and investment, mining, education, infrastructure, finance and culture.
“These are the areas that if we work together we will… create jobs for unemployed young men and woman,” Jonathan said.
Rousseff said that Brazil will seek to share “agriculture technology research” with Nigeria.
“Our two countries hold very key and important positions respectively in our two regions,” she said. “Therefore closer ties between Nigeria and Brazil will mean a proper and greater positioning in the international scene.”
In a communiqué, the two leaders directed their ministers of foreign affairs to commence the immediate implementation of the agreement.
According to the communiqué: ”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.”