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Brazil writes off $900mn African debt
May 26, 2013, 5:40 pm

brazil africa

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was one of the opening speakers at the forum [Xinhua Images]

Brazil has announced plans to cancel $900 million worth of debt in 12 African countries.

This was announced on the sidelines of African Union celebrations to mark 50 years of the continental bloc.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was one of the opening speakers at the forum.

“The idea of having Africa as a special relationship for Brazil is strategic for Brazil’s foreign policy,” presidential spokesman Thomas Traumann told reporters.

Brazil has cooperation programmes with dozens of African nations focusing on agriculture, health, bio-fuels, oil and gas, environment, trade and education.

This is the third Africa trip in a year for the Brazilian president – Rousseff attended the BRICS Summit in Durban in March earlier this year.

Brazilian foreign minister Antonio Patriota said Brazil has a ‘strategic interest’ in the continent.

The African Union, earlier named the Organization of African Unity, was founded in Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa in 1963 to help gain independence from their colonial masters.

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang, Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, French President Francois Hollande, US Secretary of State John Kerry were among those present at the African Union meet.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called for closer cooperation with the African Union on Saturday, marking the organization’s 50th anniversary.

In his congratulating letter Putin praised the 53-member union’s role in a wide range of international and regional issues, including its peacekeeping efforts and economic development, the Kremlin said.

The president “stressed out Russia’s interest in boosting further cooperation with the union,” the statement said.

Russia’s envoy in the African region, Mikhail Margelov, read Putin’s letter at the union’s summit in Addis Ababa marking 50 years since its foundation on Saturday.


 With inputs from Agencies