INTERVIEW: My 2024 agenda is strengthening relations between Brazil and Egypt: Brazilian ambassador to Cairo

Amr Yehia , Saturday 9 Mar 2024

Brazilian Ambassador to Egypt Paulino Franco de Carvalho Neto spoke to Ahram Online about the prospects of strengthening economic and cultural relations between the two countries and coordination on international issues.

Amr Yehia interviews Ambassador Paulino Franco de Carvalho Neto.


Ahram Online: The recent by visit of Brazilian President Silva de Lula to Egypt and his meeting with President Sisi was a qualitative step in deepening bilateral relations between the two countries. What are the most important outcomes of this visit?

Ambassador Paulino Franco de Carvalho Neto: It was the third visit of a Brazilian Head of State to Egypt after Emperor Dom Pedro II then President Lula during his first term in 2003 before his participation at the COP 27 in Sharm el-Sheikh in November 2022.

The visit was very successful.

The Presidents discussed bilateral and international issues and two agreements were signed.

President El-Sisi gave special treatment by offering Qubba Palace to host the delegation and by bidding farewell at the airport to President Lula.

AO: Brazil showed a positive stance on the escalating aggression in the Gaza Strip. What is your country’s vision for ending the conflict?

Ambassador Neto: Brazil is deeply concerned with the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the unacceptable toll it imposes on the Palestinian population.

We also condemned the 7 October attacks by Hamas.

As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council last year, Brazil advocated restraint and resumption of negotiations towards a two-state solution and still supports this vision in all regional and global fora.

AO: What are the priorities for bilateral diplomatic and political relations with Egypt? What initiatives have been agreed upon to strengthen relations

Ambassador Neto: On 27 February, Brazil and Egypt celebrated 100 years of diplomatic relations.

President Lula paid a visit to President Sisi on 15 February and they agreed to take the bilateral relations to the level of Strategic Partnership.

This year, Egypt is invited to the G20 meetings by the Brazilian presidency.

My 2024 agenda will focus on strengthening our ties and on activities to commemorate our 100th anniversary.

Agreements are at an advanced stage of negotiation on technical cooperation, extradition of convicted persons, and bioenergy and promotion of trade and investment.

In 2022, three EMBRAER E190 aircraft were incorporated into the fleet of Air Cairo.

Egypt is also a potential market for Brazilian defence products, with an emphasis on EMBRAER C-390.

A regular flight to Cairo-São Paulo by EgyptAir may begin next August.

AO: What about economic and trade cooperation between Brazil and Egypt?

Ambassador Neto: Egypt is one of Brazil’s most important trade partners in this region at $2.8 billion in 2023.

We describe our trade flux as ‘complementary’ because the fertilizers exported from Egypt to Brazil are used to produce the food items exported from Brazil to Egypt.

However, we wish to diversify this exchange, including by applying the Free Trade Agreement between Egypt, which has been in force since 2017. 

AO: Can you shed light on the increasing cooperation in areas such as agriculture and technology? 

Ambassador Neto: During President Lula’s visit, two bilateral agreements were signed: an MoU on Science, Technology and Innovation, providing closer dialogue between Egyptian and Brazilian institutions; and a protocol of equivalence of veterinary inspection, creating a speedier process of registration of new Brazilian meat exporters, thus facilitating trade.
AO: How do you see Egypt's recent accession to the BRICS bloc?

Ambassador Neto: The entry of Egypt and other new countries into the BRICS group reflects Brazilian support for more democratic global governance.

It also reflects our perception that BRICS has become much more relevant in the world 15 years after its creation.

This success is measured in the interest of more and more countries in joining the bloc.

AO: What about cooperation in the field of tourism and archaeology?

Ambassador Neto: There is currently a Brazilian Archaeological Program in Egypt (BAPE) excavating five tombs in Luxor in cooperation with the Center of Studies and Documentation of Egyptian Antiquities (CEDAE).

Also, the director of the National Museum of Brazil came to Egypt to negotiate a loan of antiquities for the national museum in Rio de Janeiro, which will reopen in 2026.

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