Lula highlights Brazilian investment in green energy

The president talked to businessmen during a meeting in Saudi Arabia

Published on 29/11/2023 - 15:10 By Andreia Verdélio - Brasília

In a speech to Brazilian and Saudi entrepreneurs on Wednesday, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva talked about investment opportunities in Brazil, with a focus on green energy projects. He is currently in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the first stop on his Middle East trip, where he is also taking part in the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28) in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.

“We’re taking renewable energy very seriously in Brazil. You already know that our electricity is nearly 90 percent renewable. Brazil’s energy potential is huge, and we’re looking forward to partnering up with you so you can become our partners in developing this new matrix that the world needs, the world dreams of, and we can offer,” he said at the end of the business forum organized by the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (ApexBrasil) and the Saudi government.

Just as Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s leading oil- and gas-producing nations, President Lula believes Brazil can be a center for alternative energy production and become “the Saudi Arabia of green energy” in 10 years’ time. “That’s what we’re working towards,” he said, reaffirming Brazil’s commitment to achieving zero deforestation by 2030.

“We all need to work responsibly to decarbonize the planet, so we can live in a more dignified way, with a better quality of life and without worrying we may be destroying the house we live in,” he said, warning of the effects of climate change.

Partnership

President Lula argued that Brazil has a solid intellectual, scientific, and technological base, cutting-edge companies, and a sound financial system, and called on Saudi investors to build partnerships with Brazilian enterprises, “so Brazilian businesses can boost development in both Brazil and in Saudi Arabia, generating employment in Brazil as well as in Saudi Arabia, so we can sell the world things with the highest quality, so the world can survive,” he said, also mentioning alliances in industry and agribusiness.

As an example, he mentioned investment opportunities in fertilizers, “giving the world a guarantee amid the uncertainty brought on by Russia’s war in Ukraine.” Russia is a major supplier of supplies, but suffers a strong economic embargo as a result of its military invasion of Ukraine, which has had a major impact on the global trade in these products.

“We’re talking about economic growth and development when a portion of the world is talking about war,” said the president, who also called for dialog to tackle the conflicts facing the world today. “War brings nothing but misery and death,” he declared.

BRICS and COP 30

The Brazilian president also congratulated the Saudis on the country’s entry into the BRICS—a bloc made up of Brazil, Russia, China, India, and South Africa. Starting in January 2024, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, and Iran will join the group.

On the occasion, the president called for contributions from the Middle Eastern country to the New Development Bank (NDB) in assisting more countries. “Saudi Arabia needs to help strengthen the BRICS bank so we can change the approach with multilateral banks, so they can finance the development of poorer countries, without steep interest rates that end up ruining any possibility of investment in those countries,” he said.

In 2025, Brazil will chair BRICS and will also host COP 30 in Belém, Pará state. The president invited the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, who serves as head of state, to work with Brazil on these events and to visit the country on the occasion of COP 30.

President Lula and Salman met on Tuesday (Nov. 28) in Riyadh. The two leaders estimate that trade between the two countries could jump from the current $8 billion to $20 billion by 2030.

Agenda

Later today, the president should attend another event in Riyadh to promote the products of Brazilian aviation company Embraer. He will then head to Doha, Qatar, where he is also expected to use his connection with political and business leaders to deepen and diversify bilateral ties.

The president will also discuss the war between Israel and the Palestinian political and military group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. Qatar is an interlocutor with Hamas for negotiations on the conflict.

The meetings in Qatar are slated for Thursday (30). On the same day, following the visit to the Middle East, the presidential delegation will disembark in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, for COP 28.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Valéria Aguiar

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