President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) embarks this Tuesday afternoon (13) for his first trip abroad this year, on a tour through Egypt and Ethiopia, both new members of Brics. The visit is part of Lula’s strategy of expanding commercial and diplomatic relations between Brazil and countries in the so-called “South-South” – in this case, with African countries.
Lula departs from Brasília Air Base at 2pm with a scheduled stop in Cape Verde before heading to Cairo in the evening. In Egypt, Lula will have bilateral meetings with President Abdul Fatah Khalil Al-Sisi and will visit the League of Arab States. In Ethiopia, he will participate in the 37th African Union Summit, bringing together leaders from 55 African nations.
The rapprochement with Egypt was highlighted by the Itamaraty Palace due to the cooperation during the withdrawal of Brazilians from the Gaza Strip region, demonstrating the importance of dialogue between the countries. In addition to discussing the crisis between Israel and Hamas, trade negotiations, especially agricultural ones, will be on the agenda.
“Egypt is an important player in the region. This dialogue took place at the most diverse levels to achieve the repatriation of Brazilians. This circumstance made the relationship even more important,” said Ambassador Carlos Duarte, Secretary for Africa and the Middle East at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during a presentation to journalists about the president’s trip.
Brazil seeks to expand exports to Egypt, including beef, fish, poultry meat, cotton, gelatin and collagen. There are also plans for an airline connecting São Paulo to Cairo.
In Ethiopia, a country with strong economic growth, Lula will discuss trade and cooperation opportunities. The invitation to participate in the African Union summit is seen as recognition of Brazilian efforts in the region.
“It is also a country with which Brazil can develop stronger trade. It is a country that has had strong and significant economic growth and is an important market. Brazil can benefit from having a greater presence in Ethiopia”, added the ambassador.
At the end of last year, in the last live “Conversa com o Presidente”, Lula had confirmed that he would only make two international trips this year, one to participate in the meeting with African countries and another to Guyana. For the remainder of 2024, she said she will focus her efforts on traveling around Brazil to meet with governors and mayors to announce works and investments by the federal government.
The strategy is seen as a move to get closer to city halls with a view to this year’s municipal elections. More recently, he was on the same stage with Cláudio Castro (PL-RJ), in Rio de Janeiro; Tarcísio de Freitas (Republicanos-SP), in São Paulo; and Romeu Zema (Novo-MG), in Belo Horizonte.