Brazil: Lula da Silva visits Mozambique in October to announce “concrete cooperation measures”

8 September 2008

Brasilia, Brazil, 8 Sept – The visit by the Brazilian president to Mozambique will be a “powerful driver,” for bilateral relations via “concrete measures,” the Mozambican minister for Foreign Affairs said Thursday in Brasília.

Oldemiro Balói, who is on an official visit to Brazil, avoided giving precise details on what measures these would be, but government officials in Brasília indicated that Lula da Silva was likely to announce funding for a factory to manufacture anti-viral drugs, which will start operating in Maputo before the end of 2009.

Brazil’s Foreign Relations minister, Celso Amorim, said that the government was defining whether resources being applied in the construction of the anti-viral drugs factory would be transferred via a donation or through technical assistance.

According to the Health Minister, Brazil plans to invest US$10 million in the Maputo factory, US$4 million of which had been earmarked for the first stage of the project and would be available by the end of this year.

Speaking to Portuguese news agency Lusa, the Mozambican minister said that the AIDS rate in his country was very high – 16 percent – and that the possibility of having locally-manufactured medication would make it easier to distribute, as well as benefiting other African countries at a later date.

Raw materials for the anti-viral factory will be provided by India and the technology by Brazil. The factory will produce eight of the 15 anti-viral drugs that Brazil has the technology to produce.

The Mozambican technicians will be trained up by the Farmanguinhos laboratory of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), which is being set up in Mozambique.

The agreement between the Brazilian and Mozambican governments to set up the African regional headquarters of Fiocruz in Maputo was signed Thursday by the foreign ministers of both countries.

Balói and Amorim also signed an agreement for training the Mozambican technicians in the area of production of anti-viral medication. (macauhub)