Trade relations between Brazilian and Portuguese-speaking African countries still in their infancy

3 December 2009

Fortaleza, Brazil, 3 Dec – The rise in trade between Brazil and the group of Portuguese-speaking African nations (PALOP) depends on “great articulation between government and private enterprise,” international consultant Altair Maia said Wednesday in Fortaleza.

“Trade between Brazil and Africa is incipient and needs to be worked on,” he said, adding that African countries imported around US$500 billion, of which less than US$10 billion was from Brazil.

“That is less than 2 percent,” said Maia, an economist and specialist in African issues, on the sidelines of the 2nd CPLP (Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries) Ports Meeting, which ends Thursday in Fortaleza, , in the Brazilian state of Ceará.

According to the consultant there is good potential for business on the West African coast, but growth of trade depends on efficient strategies.

“It’s not a question of creating a direct sea route, but rather of studying existing lines and creating conditions for a transit stop in Africa. All the ships that leave Brazil move away from Africa, when the most feasible and economic thing would be to offer incentives to ship owners to stop in African ports,” he said.

The idea of joint action by the government, exporters and ship owners, according to Maia’s suggestion, would require selection of Brazilian ports as places to concentrate goods, ensuring volume, regularity and agility in sea transport.

Brazil has 37 public ports, 2 private terminals and three port complexes that process around 700 million tonnes of goods per year, accounting for over 90 percent of exports, according to figures provided by the event’s organisers.

The 2nd Ports Meeting, a technical event hosted by the Special Secretariat of Ports of the Presidency of the Republic of Brazil and by the CPLP Ports, includes working meetings, talks and exhibitions and brings together business leaders from Portuguese-speaking countries such as Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique and Portugal.

The first edition of the CPLP Ports Meeting was held in September 2008, in the port city of Leixões in Portugal. (macauhub)

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