After leaving the Presidency of Brazil in 2010, Lula resolved to continue helping to expand the relations and increase the cooperation between Brazil and the African countries, with special emphasis given to the successful experience of Brazil in the fight against hunger and poverty.
During Lula’s two terms in office (2003-2010) Brazil greatly increased its diplomatic relations and trade and political initiatives for cooperation with the African countries. Trade flows multiplied by five during this time, from US$5 billion to US$25 billion per year. New Embassies were established on the continent. Brazil set up an office for Embrapa (the agricultural research company) in Ghana and an antiretroviral drug manufacturing plant in Mozambique, where an open University was also created thanks to the partnership between Mozambican and Brazilian institutions.
In many African countries Brazilian social programs aroused great interest on a continent that has 300 million middle-class income inhabitants, but that today still confronts enormous challenges in the fight to end hunger, in health and in the production and access to food and energy.
To share experiences and knowledge between Brazil and the African countries the Lula Institute created the African Initiative, which working as partners since 2011, has engaged in a continuing dialog with civil society, multilateral institutions and governments on the continent. This was accomplished by organized events in Brazil and overseas as well as through the visits of the former president to African countries.
In 2013, the Lula Institute worked to increase the contacts and knowledge about Africa in Brazil and vice versa, especially with regard to the experiences in combating hunger. This effort culminated in a high-level meeting lasting three days in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to push the fight to end of hunger in Africa by 2025, organized by the African Union and the FAO, in partnership with the Institute. In addition to Ethiopia, Lula visited six other African countries in 2013, (Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, Malawi and South Africa), talking with heads of state, civil society and business leaders about the experience of Brazil in combining the fight against poverty, democracy and economic development.
“The principal focus is on social issues. The best way for Brazil to collaborate is to share its successful experiences with public policies, especially in the fight to end hunger, with the African countries,” explains Celso Marcondes, the coordinator of the African Initiative.
The work on the project continued in 2014 at a follow-up meeting of the African Union in January, where the leaders of the Continent renewed their commitment to the goal of eradicating hunger in Africa by 2025.
In Brazil, Lula participated in activities sponsored by the Valor Econômico newspaper, the magazine Carta Capital, the municipal government of the city of São Paulo and the Faculdade Zumbi dos Palmares, to promote the meetings and exchange experiences between Brazil and Africa. In addition, the series “African Presidents”, shown on Cable as well as network television with host Franklin Martins, a journalist and member of the board of the Lula Institute and honored by the Associação Paulista de Críticos de Arte (APCA) was shown representing a rare opportunity for Brazilians to learn more about contemporary Africa, a subject that still gets very little attention in the media.
And, at the headquarters of the Institute, the former president and his team hosted delegations, visitors and African diplomats, social movements and nongovernmental organizations, businessmen and multilateral institutions that are working on the continent.
“In these three years of activity, the Institute has become a point of reference and a meeting place for persons interested in the dissemination of knowledge and improving the relations between Brazil and the African countries,” said Marcondes.
The high-level meeting in Addis Ababa, “New Unified Approach to End Hunger in Africa by 2025”
On June 29 and 30 and July 1 a high-level meeting “The Way to African Rebirth: A New Unified Approach To End Hunger In Africa By 2025, under the scope of the CAADP (Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program)” was held. The meeting, sponsored by the African Union, FAO and the Lula Institute, brought together seven Chiefs of State and African governments, dozens of ministers from practically every country on the continent, representatives of other countries like China and Vietnam, former presidents, representatives of international organizations, NGOs like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and dozens of representatives of African popular movements.
The meeting was coordinated by representatives from the African Union, FAO and the Lula Institute who organized the proposals of the meeting, and developed a schedule of activities. Four countries were chosen for pilot initiatives for the implementation of approaches to end hunger proposed at the meeting: Angola, Ethiopia, Malawi and Niger. http://www.institutolula.org/eng/?p=473
The meeting was also important in helping the African countries to become better aware of the experience of Brazil in ending hunger as well as the production of food. Participating in the meeting was the Minister of Social Development, Tereza Campello, who reported on the programs initiated during the administrations of presidents Lula and Dilma, that significantly reduced poverty in Brazil, such as Brazil Without Misery, and the Bolsa Família together with the Food Acquisition Program (PAA) and other initiatives in support of small family farming. Also attending the meeting was the chief of the international relations department of Embrapa, Márcio Porto, who described the capabilities of the company in tropical agriculture that permitted Brazil to become a large producer of food, and the potential for transferring Brazilian agricultural technology to African countries.
At the meeting, former President Lula argued forcefully that the poorest citizens should be the focus of attention and included in government budgets.
The joint communiqué of the meeting stressed the urgency of joining together and coordinating the efforts of FAO, the African Union and the chiefs of state present at the meeting to increase the resources invested in and social programs and the commitment not just to reduce, but to end hunger in Africa by 2025. http://www.fao.org/news/story/jp/item/164794/icode/
Activities in African countries (links below in Portuguese only)
Lula visited six African countries in 2013 in addition to Ethiopia.
Malawi Lula visited Malawi in June and attended a meeting of UNAIDS, the United Nations commission that deals with policies to combat HIV. At the meeting, Lula spoke about the Brazilian experience of the distribution of medication free of charge to HIV-positive patients and the need to combine the fight against AIDS and poverty in an in-dissolvable manner. http://www.institutolula.org/a-producao-de-medicamentos-nao-pode-representar-apenas-interesses-economicos-mas-tambem-humanitarios-defende-lula-em-debate-sobre-combate-a-aids-no-malaui/#.UrHiiPRDtz4
In March the former-president made a six-day visit to four African countries: Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Benin and Nigeria.
Ghana In the Ghanaian capital Accra, Lula met with President Dramani Mahama, who praised the Brazilian model of development with social inclusion. http://www.institutolula.org/em-encontro-com-lula-presidente-de-gana-elogia-modelo-brasileiro-de-desenvolvimento/#.UrHmxPRDtz4. He participated in a discussion with former president of Ghana, John Kufuor, with whom he shared the World Food Prize de 2011 for the role that the two played in reducing hunger and increasing the production of food and their countries.
Nigeria and Benin In Lagos, Lula met with political and union leaders and participated in a debate sponsored and promoted by The Economist in Lagos, Nigeria. In Cotonou, Benin, he was welcomed by President Boni Yayi and his entire cabinet.
For more information about the contacts and details of the visit see this link: http://www.institutolula.org/lula-na-africa-o-brasil-precisa-estar-junto-da-africa-neste-processo-de-crescimento/#.UrHir_RDtz4
Nelson Mandela In December, at the invitation of President Dilma Rousseff, he joined with the other former presidents of Brazil (José Sarney, Fernando Collor and Fernando Henrique Cardoso) and went to Johannesburg in South Africa for the funeral ceremony to honor South African leader Nelson Mandela.
In addition to his travels to the African countries, in April Lula went to Washington for the award ceremony of the Africare Prize, given by the North American NGO that works on social projects in Africa. The award from the organization, given to Lula in 2012, was given in 2013 to Sudanese philanthropist Mo Ibrahim. Lula made the presentation speech for Mo Ibrahim, who heads a foundation that is working to improve public administration in Africa.
Activities is Brazil
Lula and the Institute sponsored and participated in activities in Brazil about Africa in an effort to contribute to increase knowledge in Brazil about the current situation of the African countries. On May 22, Lula participated in a seminar entitled Brazil’s Relations with Africa, A New Frontier for Global Capitalism organized by the Valor Econômico newspaper that took place at the headquarters of the National Confederation of Industry in Brasilia at a meeting of Brazilian business leaders to discuss investment possibilities on the African continent. Lula encouraged Brazil to participate more actively around the world. “Nobody can remain a global actor while remaining in a shell.” To learn more about the event and listen to the complete speech by the former president, see: http://www.institutolula.org/lula-encerra-seminario-sobre-relacoes-brasil-africa/
On the same day, May 22, Lula attended a dinner in his honor hosted by the ambassadors of African countries in Brazil, in recognition of his efforts to improve Brazil-Africa relations and to celebrate “Africa Day”.
Five days later, in São Paulo, together with Mayor Fernando Haddad, Lula attended another ceremony in honor of Africa Day and the start of a working group to implement a federal law from 2003 regarding the teaching of African history (http://www.institutolula.org/eng/?p=508 )
Alongside Nobel Peace Prize winner, Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee, Lula also attended an event entitled “A World without Hunger: Strategies for Overcoming Extreme Poverty” sponsored by Carta Capital magazine. The discussion was focused on “democracy, peace and social justice in Brazil and in Africa”, and moderated by former minister Franklin Martins. Gbowee made an emotional speech about the impact of armed conflicts on the lives of African families, and for this reason underscored the importance of peace. See: http://www.institutolula.org/nao-se-pode-ignorar-o-papel-das-mulheres-no-combate-a-fome-afirma-nobel-da-paz-em-mesa-com-lula/#more-4155
The Lula Institute, in conjunction with the Bank Workers and Metalworkers Unions of the ABC in São Paulo also sponsored three conferences entitled “Conversations About Africa”, with professor Luiz Felipe Alencastro about the importance of Africa in the formation of Brazil, (http://www.institutolula.org/o-brasil-e-um-pais-de-colonizacao-africana/#more-4106), a second with journalist Franklin Martins, who presented the television series “African Presidents” (http://www.institutolula.org/os-proximos-anos-serao-de-descoberta-da-africa/#more-4454), and a third with social representatives to discuss the Pro-Savanna Program in Mozambique.
In November, at the Faculdade Zumbi dos Palmares, Lula was awarded the “Raça Negra” prize and took part in a discussion with the president of Guinea, Alpha Condé, along with the American Reverend Jesse Jackson and Angolan Deputy Irene Neto. (http://noticias.terra.com.br/brasil/lula-jesse-jackson-e-presidente-da-guine-se-unem-pela-igualdade-racial,d0ec05af44a62410VgnCLD2000000ec6eb0aRCRD.html)
Meetings and Diplomatic Missions
During 2013, the Lula Institute hosted visits by 19 diplomatic missions from 13 different African countries as well as representatives of multilateral organizations, NGOs, businessmen and academics. In addition, 49 meetings were held with different institutions, proponents of cultural, educational and cooperation projects, journalists specializing in Africa and students.