Libyan authorities in Tripoli told Brazil Africa Institute (IBRAF) president João Bosco Monte they want to resume talks with Brazil and restore ties with the Latin American country, according to Brazil-Arab News Agency (ANBA).
Brazil’s Bosco Monte visited Libya last week and was welcomed by authorities and ministers based in Tripoli, including Agriculture & Livestock deputy minister Muhammad Al-Turki (opening picture) Authority for Investment Promotion president Abdulaziz Eshawish, ANBA reported.
“Since the revolution, talks have slowed down, and in a very pragmatic manner, I intended to restore the ties Brazil had with Libya for a while,” said Bosco Monte, who went to the country to promote the Brazil Africa Forum the institution will hold in São Paulo from October 31 to November 1st.
Before the revolution, Brazil had an established relation with Libya. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva traveled to Libya in both his first and second term, and the Libya government sent several senior officials to Brazil in the 2000s. Brazil used to have an ambassador in Tripoli, and Brazilian construction firms operated in the country.
Exports from Brazil to Libya spiked from USD 35.1 million in 2001 to USD 456 million in 2010, shrinking to USD 141.4 million in 2016, and returning to higher levels last year, at USD 320 million. Brazil’s embassy in Tripoli was transferred to Tunis, Tunisia, in 2012, for security reasons.
Bosco Monte met with Libya economy, agriculture, investment and transport officials. “They were all willing to talk and resume talks with Brazil,” he said, adding that Libyans preserve the memory of the relation Brazil used to have with their country.
The IBRAF’s president sees several paths for the rapprochement with Libya, including a Brazilian participation in the Arab country’s infrastructure agenda and agricultural cooperation. In agriculture, he received demands for training people, seed production and improvement, and product transformation for adding value. Bosco Monte also noticed a desire from Libya authorities for their country to be a catalyst for Brazil’s trade with the region.
Bosco Monte said his meetings were intended to foster Brazil-Libya ties. He points out that not only Brazil but other countries have also drifted away from Libya and are now reconnecting. “I heard from many that the Brazilian brand is a relevant brand, and I believe this is the driver we need to use to reclaim our space, the agenda we used to have there and have lost since. If we don’t do it, others will,” he said.
He said he saw a city of Tripoli that’s very different from what the press shows. “Brazil and other countries are letting themselves believe in this narrative that Libya is an unsafe place, with no capacity for investment. On the contrary, it’s a rather very capitalized country with reserves that can easily be used as collateral for transactions,” he told ANBA. Bosco Monte explained, however, he refers to the opportunities, and not only the country’s domestic political issue.