President Dilma Rouseff of Brazil left Abuja Saturday night after her whistle-stop visit to Nigeria that was aimed at boosting trade and investment between the two nations. The visit by President Rousseff, who flew into the Nigerian capital from Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, where she attended the third Africa-South America (ASA) Summit, was at the instance of President Goodluck Jonathan, who extended an invitation to her during the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last year.
While in Nigeria, the Brazilian leader held two hours of talks with President Jonathan at the Aso Rock President Villa, during which both leaders signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) setting up a Bi-National Commission to expand trade, boost investments and strengthen the 56-year-old diplomatic ties between Nigeria and Brazil.
'The main thing that will interest you is that we signed an MoU that will lead to a setting up of Bi-national Commission, that is a body that will be meeting from time to time to see in which areas the countries will be interacting. The Vice Presidents of both countries will seat on the commission which will be coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,' President Jonathan told a joint press conference addressed by both leaders.
For her part, President Rousseff said: 'We want to also establish our partnership covering hydro-electricity and electricity in general. Given Brazil's experience in electricity and our expertise in building a wide range of transmission system, we therefore wish to broaden our partnership in this regard.'
Both leaders also called for an urgent reform of the UN Security Council to make it more democratic and reflective of the changes in the international architecture.
While the closed-door talks were being held, businessmen on the delegation of the Brazilian President met with their Nigerian counterparts at an informal setting at the highbrow Transcorp Hilton in the Nigerian capital.
Though they had been scheduled to make opening remarks at the Business Forum, none of the two leaders attended, as they went to lunch after their talks and subsequent joint press conference at the villa before President Rousseff's departure, compacting what had been billed as a two-day (23-24 Feb) visit.
Nigeria is Brazil's main trading partner in Africa, on the account of the African nation's crude oil export.
Trade between the Africa and South America's most populous nations grew from US$ 1.5 billion in 2002 to over US$ 9 billion in 2012, but it is largely tilted in favour of Nigeria which exported US$ 8.4 billion worth of crude oil to Brazil in 2011, compared with the US$ 1.2 billion in total imports from Brazil, according to figures provided by the Nigeria-Brazil Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NBCCI).