Thursday, July 08, 2010

President Lula shares Brazil’s success story

President Lula shares Brazil’s success story
By Chibaula Silwamba and Patson Chilemba
Thu 08 July 2010, 16:50 CAT

VISTING Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva yesterday queried the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank for remaining silent on the economic crisis in Europe and US when in fact they had been lecturing developing countries on similar problems.

And President Lula said it is unimaginable that developing countries can still continue to be excluded from global decision making processes.

Meanwhile, Brazil and Zambia has signed eight bilateral agreements and two memoranda of understanding (MoUs) in different sectors that include agriculture, diplomatic relations, biofuels production, fighting hunger, health and others.

Speaking at State House in Lusaka, President Lula said the IMF and the World Bank did not know how to solve the economic crisis.

“We are facing a crisis in Europe, what is the size of this crisis? We do not yet know the amount of rotten money that exists in those banks in European countries. And we do not have a surveillance and oversight system that could inform us about the size of the hole in the Germany bank or in French banks for that matter,” President Lula said.

“Now, when the crisis, was in a country like Zambia or we have a crisis in a country like Brazil, then the IMF representative and the World Bank representative will teach us what we should do, what we should do on our economy. Now that the crisis happens in the rich countries, the IMF is in a deep silence and the World Bank is now mute, it’s not even saying anything. They don’t know how to address the problem.”

He said developing countries had the recipe of how to tackle their crisis instead of depending on developed countries to solve them.

President Lula said the global economic crisis was a blessing in disguise for the developing world.

“I believe that there is nothing that happens by coincidence. I believe that this global economic crisis possibly is good so that the countries from the south should act in a different way as compared to how they acted in the 20th Century,” President Lula said.

“During the 20th Century we were under the expectation that the rich countries will solve our problems and now this crisis applies to us to discover our own solutions, that we have to solve our own problems. We have to diversify our trade relations, our political ties, our social ties, our cultural relations. I am personally convinced that Brazil can do something for Zambians and Africans, we can do much more than we have done up to now.”

He highlighted the achievements that Brazil had achieved over the years, which he said Zambia and other developing countries could learn from.

“Thanks to God and I believe that God sometimes writes in proper way but through different lines. In emerging economies and in developing countries are much more sound than the economies of the so-called rich countries,” President Lula said.

“For example, we had a debt of US $30 billion to the IMF but when I took office, we repaid the IMF and we don’t owe anymore to the IMF. On the contrary, the IMF owes us US $14 billion. We have US $250 billion in our currency reserves.”

He said Brazil’s economy was growing at an impressive rate.

“The economy will grow above five per cent per year, some even say that it will go to seven per cent or even above seven per cent but I will be happy with five per cent growth rate. We have helped the crisis in Greece; actually we were the very first country to put money in the IMF to help the poor countries because the rich countries were promising to put the money in the IMF but they haven’t given money to the IMF yet,” he said.

President Lula said the ten agreements that Zambia and Brazil signed would be beneficial to both countries.

“It will also allow us that we could work with much better perspective in terms of investment from Brazilian companies, mining industries for example in Zambia, to produce biofuels,” he said.

“We will sign the agreement in the health area and agriculture area, which is also very important; we will continue to work together at the G20. We can try to reorganize the Doha Round and we will continue to work together to democratise the UN Security Council.”

He advised President Banda that welfare programmes must benefit the poor and not the rich, who are not the intended beneficiaries.

“In Brazil, the money has been reaching the hands of the poor. I also want to say Mr President that what we should share with Zambia is that in your trip to Brazil, if you can bring together in your delegation all the Cabinet ministers that have something to do with the social policy or with income transfer policy or programmes, we have very successful story in terms of social policies in the world,” President Lula said.

“Twenty one million Brazilians were lifted from poverty lives. So, today we have more than 62 per cent of the Brazilian population in what is now considered as middle class.”

He said the poor people in Brazil had risen through the social ladder and now had the purchasing power.

“They are the ones going shopping, buying refrigerators, buying clothes, buying more tools, buying hygiene materials, they the new consumers. Let me give you a figure Mr President that I think tells our success story that the programme that we have developed, we call it electricity for all. We have 10 million people that live in remote areas that had no access to electricity, and we decided to take electricity to all of them. We went on the ground and we discovered that it was not two million families but three million families. So now we have taken electricity to 2.4 million households,” President Lula said.are

“Electricity reaches those households. So people can buy TV sets, sound systems. But what I believe is truly important is to allow Brazilians to have electricity so that they can get some cold beer too.”

He said most of the programmes that Brazil was developing were not extraordinary.

“In Brazil we have a special programme serving food at school canteens, we have about 34 million children that everyday have lunch in their schools. That is why I want you to come to Brazil; to get to see on the ground, not just to believe in what the President says, you have to look for yourself, or you don’t have to believe what one of my Cabinet ministers but you have to see yourself with your own eyes and speak to people on the ground, to see the extraordinary results of our policies that we are developing in Brazil,” President Lula said.

“I believed that Zambia and Brazil are still far away to develop their cultural and trade policy that actually matches the greatness of the two countries. I believe that this collaboration process is just the beginning and I believe that we do have the ability to do much more.”

And President Banda said Zambia was happy that Brazil as a member of the G20 had continued to provide a voice of reason at international gathering in championing the cause of the developing world.

Later President Banda conferred the first division of the Order of the Eagle of Zambia on President Lula for championing the cause of the developing world.
The award is reserved for Zambian and foreign heads of state and former heads of state.

And the eight bilateral agreements signed between Brazil and Zambia include the performance of remunerated activities by dependants of diplomatic, consular, administrative, military and technical staff, cooperations in the field of education, Brazil-Zambia vocational training centre, training and capacity building for health professionals of the University Teaching Hospital, strengthening the national strategic plan for HIV/AIDS, cultural cooperation, visa exemptions for holders of diplomatic, official and service passports, and production of biofuels.

The MoUs signed are in the field of food and nutritional security and humanitarian assistance, and technical cooperation in the field of sports.

The agreements and MoUs were signed by Brazilian international relations minister Celso Amorin and Zambia’s foreign affairs minister Kabinga Pande at State House.

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