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03/09/2017 - 07:00hs

Kuwait sees investment opportunities in Brazil

The Arab country’s ambassador discusses areas of Brazil’s economy that could be targeted by investments from the emirate. The ratification of a 2010 agreement would make this easier to happen.

André Barros/ANBA

Arab Chamber Government Relations manager Tamer Mansour and Kuwaiti ambassador Ayadah Alsaidi

São Paulo – Kuwait is interested in investing more in Brazil. During a visit to the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce on Friday (1), the emirate’s ambassador in Brasília, Ayadah Alsaidi, mentioned areas of Brazil’s economy that Kuwaiti entrepreneurs envision opportunities in, such as food security, renewable energy, mining, oil and finances.

In order for this to happen, however, the Brazilian government must fast-track the Amendment to the Cooperation Agreement between Brazil and the State of Kuwait, which has been stuck in Congress since at least 2010, when officials from both countries signed on to it. “The Kuwaiti parliament ratified this agreement in 2011, but it still pends approval in Brazil. Besides enhancing economic ties, it paves the way for Kuwaiti investments here,” the ambassador told ANBA.

Alsaidi recently convened with senator Fernando Collor, of party PTC in Alagoas, who chairs the Commission on Foreign Relations and National Defense (CRE) in the Federal Senate, and with deputy Bruna Furlan, of the PSDB in São Paulo, who chairs the Commission on Foreign Relations and National Defense (CREDN) in the Chamber of Deputies. He was promised that the subject will be brought up, but no deadlines were given for its approval.

Notwithstanding this, the ambassador of Kuwait is in talks for a Brazil-Kuwait Economic Forum involving entrepreneurs from both countries. The plan is to have it next year, with backing from the Arab Brazilian Chamber, which should host the event as well.

The Kuwaiti government has also extended an invitation for Brazil’s president Michel Temer to visit Kuwait. Last May, the Brazilian minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply Blairo Maggi was in Kuwait with a delegation and sat down with local ministers. “We hope our minister will be able to return the courtesy soon,” the ambassador said.

At the time, the Brazilian delegation reinforced the arguments on the safety and quality of the meats, the main exporting item from Brazil to Kuwait – and that had been the source of rumors due to the investigation Operação Carne Fraca conducted by the Federal Police in March. However, the ambassador pointed out that Kuwait trusts the Brazilian product. “There wasn’t an embargo, only a restriction about importing products from the plants directly under investigation,” he said.

 Other areas

Alsaidi also talked about the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, a fund created with a budget provided by oil revenues that aims to help social and economic projects in other countries. According to the ambassador, a Brazilian state or city that wishes to build a hospital, for instance, can ask the fund for help. Interest rates on the fund’s loans are lower than 4% per year.

“Brazil has never asked for the help of this fund,” said the ambassador. The Kuwaiti fund already funded projects in 106 countries such as Angola, Cape Verde, Honduras, Cuba, Nicaragua and even Argentina. According to the ambassador, the resources are also available to Brazilians.

In the cultural area, there’s a project – also in partnership with the Arab Chamber – to organize a Kuwait Culture Festival in São Paulo. The venue was even chosen already: the library Biblioteca Parque Villa Lobos, in West São Paulo. According to the ambassador, it should take place in 2018.

Lastly, the ambassador pointed out the partnership between Brazil and Kuwait in the sports area. “There’s an exchange involving athletes, coaches, Physical Education professors,” he said. “We have had a lot of support from the minister of Sports, Leonardo Picciani.”

Next week, Alsaidi will complete 4 years as Kuwait’s ambassador in Brasília. This is his first experience in such a position. Before, he lived in New York, Rome, Bangkok and Sofia due to his diplomatic career.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum and Sérgio Kakitani

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