A six-man delegation of the Nigerian-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce & Industry – the President, Mr. Emmanuel N. O. Ibru, Ambassador Kayode Garrick, immediate past Nigerian Ambassador to Brazil, Messrs Babatunde Williams, Senior Special Assistant to the Lagos State Governor on Corporate Matters, Eric Oji (NIMASA Representative), Barrister Chuks Nwana of Chuks Nwana & Co., and Raymond I. Dibie, Executive Secretary of the Chamber – were on a 10-day Introductory Visit to Brazil from 19th August, 2011.
At each stop, Mr. Ibru, the President of the NBCCI, introduced his team and gave a short presentation of the Chamber.
He explained that Nigeria has a lot of challenges and difficulties in the areas of industrialization, energy generation and distribution, agricultural production, processing and storage, roads and housing provisions and other social infrastructures. Indeed, Nigeria needs foreign direct investments in these areas, and much more.
The Chamber visited and discussed with the following Government Departments and Agencies:
MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL RELATIONS (DEPT. OF TRADE & INVESTMENT): The Chamber visited this Ministry, where Minister Rubens Gama Dias Filho, Director of Trade & Investment Promotion, said, among other things, that Nigeria was a very important trading partner with Brazil, and that because of Nigeria’s great potentials, the Department would organize a trade mission to Nigeria next year. The Chamber thanked him for arranging most of the appointments it had during the trip.
AGENCIA BRASILEIRA DE COOPERACAO (ABC) – Brazilian Agency for Cooperation: ABC is one of the several Secretariats/Departments under the Brazilian Ministry of External Relations. It coordinates and implements South-South cooperation in Africa, Asia and Oceania, specifically, in the areas of technical assistance and the transfer of Brazilian technology. Presently, they are doing two projects for Nigeria – on cassava and tropical fruits and are ready to do more.
BANCO NACIONAL DE DESENVOLVIMENTO, ECONOMICO E SOCIAL (BNDES) – National Bank for Economic & Social Development: BNDES is a 100% Government financed bank, engaged in long-term machinery and infrastructure equipment, project, export financing and equity investments. It has an equity base of about $130 Billion and has been funding Brazilian growth since 1952. It had established yet to be utilized credit limits with four Nigerian Banks – UBA, GTB, First and Zenith Banks and would like to build further partnership with Nigeria.
APEX-BRASIL (Partner to exporters & investors): Apex-Brasil is the Brazilian Trade & Investment Promotion Agency which bears the mission of promoting exports of Brazilian products and services, contributing to internationalize Brazilian companies and attracting foreign investments into Brazil. Because of their efforts, Brazilian exports, in terms of foreign trade ended 2010 at US$201.9 billion and at 32% growth rate over 2009. As a result of our visit, it has requested for more information to enable it target one of its yearly programmes to Nigeria.
PETROBRAS – At the meeting, the delegation discussed the dearth of infrastructure in Nigeria and the need for Petrobras to encourage other Brazilian companies to come and take advantage of the opportunities in Nigeria’s investment portfolio.
The delegation also met and discussed with the following business associations:
Federacao Das Industrias Do Estado De Sao Paulo (FIESP), Federation of Industries of the State of Sao Paulo: FIESP is an umbrella organization, representing 132 Industrial associations and 150,000 industries involved in manufacturing in the State of Sao Paulo. In Brazil’s industrial output last year, Sao Paulo produced 67%. FIESP has a Department of Trade and Foreign Affairs which contributes actions that enhance flow of trade and foreign investments, and also assist in the internationalization of Brazilian companies. It is ready to collaborate with Nigeria in areas of technology transfer, renewable energy, agricultural production, processing and storage, etc. With regard to finance, it said that companies interested in doing business with Nigeria could always arrange with the Brazilian banks who are already playing at the international market. On agriculture, it said that EMBRAPA, Brazil’s agricultural research and production outfit, has developed technologies that could turn arid land into arable land, and that EMBRAPA was already in Ghana and Mozambique.
FEDERATION OF INDUSTRIES OF THE STATE OF RIO DE JANEIRO (FIRJAN): Like FIESP, FIRJAN is made up of different industrial associations in the State of Rio de Janeiro. It creates positive environment for the growth of industries and runs SENAI technical schools to train technicians for the industries as well as schools for the children of company employees. FIRJAN organizes fairs, business match-making, etc., and is ready to help the Chamber achieve its goals if it is supplied with relevant information on how businesses operate in Nigeria. The Chamber promised to make sure it has all the necessary information.
FEDERACAO DAS CAMARAS DE COMERCIO EXTERIOR (FCCE) – Foreign Trade Chambers Federation: FCCE is the oldest trade association in Brazil, dedicated extensively to the activities of foreign trade. It is one of the most important Brazilian Economic institutions and represents Brazilian commerce at all levels. It has encouraged and supported the work of Bilateral Chambers of Commerce, Consulates, Business Councils, and operates at the international level, through “Cooperation Conventions” signed with various bodies of the highest credibility and tradition. It match-makes businesses and is ready to sign an MoU with our Chamber so that we can plan programmes together.
DISCUSSIONS WITH SIX MAJOR CONGLOMERATES: The delegation had meetings on one-to-one basis with six major conglomerates, namely: Group Andrade Gutierrez, Odebrecht Construtora, Construtora OAS Ltda, Queiroz Galvao, SIEMENS Ltda and AVIANCA Brasil. These are major Brazilian conglomerates, operating in various continents and countries. They are engaged in various fields: heavy construction, power generation, telecommunication, funds/investment, health services, energy, industrial engineering, oil and gas, real estate developments, petrochemicals, ethanol, sugar, transportation, logistics, defence, technology, mining, sanitation, sports arena, irrigation, iron and steel, urban infrastructure, transformers production, energy automation products and solutions, concessions, etc. What the Chamber discovered is that many of them are quite willing to come to Nigeria to help in the development of our infrastructures and economy. The Chamber will take steps to ensure that this happens.
AVIANCA BRASIL – An Airline company: One of the hindrances of bilateral trade between Nigeria and Brazil is lack of direct flight between both countries. With our visit, AVIANCA, would consider the prospect of a direct flight to Nigeria.
HOW DOES NIGERIA AS A HUGE CONSUMER MARKET CREATE AND SUSTAIN LINKS WITH BRAZILIAN INDUSTRIES? About this nagging question, the delegation explained that Nigeria’s economic policies and legal frame works for formation and running of business are no longer cumbersome. Many businesses could be owned 100% by foreigners. Commercial disputes could even be settled in arbitration courts with reduced bottle-necks. To increase information flow, the Chamber in conjunction with some of the Brazilian business federations, should from time to time, organize match-making meetings for companies, either in Nigeria or Brazil.
BRAZILIAN ECONOMY AND EXPORTS: During the presentations, it was observed that Brazil is the 7th largest economy of the world, and growing in a way that has lifted 50% of its low income earners to middle class status. However, it needs to address the economic indexes that have made the prices of its export products comparably high. In Brazil, however, low inflation has brought better life to more Brazilians.