Brazilian, Indian and South African leaders are meeting in Pretoria this week for the second IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) summit. The three national leaders are looking to foster closer political relations and boost trade and economic ties, particularly among developing nations in the southern hemisphere, by coordinating efforts to bring down trade and investment barriers and the sharing of knowledge, expertise and development resources.
Rapid growth in and the opening up of the Indian economy, along with its growing role in world trade and manufacturing, Brazil’s successful and internationally influential efforts to develop biofuels and flex-fuel vehicles, and South Africa’s importance as a supplier of key strategic minerals and a linchpin of relative democratic and economic stability in southern Africa are among the factors that make the IBSA summit a leading indicator of the upcoming diplomatic agenda likely to be pursued by developing countries in larger, broader international forums that bring together leaders from the southern and northern hemispheres and from developed and developing nations.
Biofuels, Energy, Fair Trade and Agriculture
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva urged African nations to join the “biofuel revolution” earlier this week in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. “By planting crops in Africa, Latin America, Latin America and Asia to produce ethanol and biodiesel on a large scale, we will be able to democratize access to sustainable energy and at the same time fight global warming, which hits the world’s poorest countries disproportionately hard,” he was reported as saying in South Africa’s Oct. 17 Cape Times .
A Brazilian pledge to provide technical expertise to the Congo Republic regarding the use of sugar cane as a biofuel was included in a development and infrastructure package that was expected to be signed in Brazzaville, which President Lula and his diplomatic team visited after their stop in Burkina Faso and before traveling on to Pretoria. Petrobras, Brazil’s national oil company, also expressed interest in exploring for petroleum off Congo’s Atlantic coast, as well as on-shore outside the city of Pointe-Noire, according to Congolese officials.
Campaigning for fairer terms of trade between developed and developing nations is high up on the IBSA summit’s agenda, where Pres. Lula will meet with his Indian and host South African counterparts, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Thabo Mbeki. These are expected to focus on the continuing debate with the US and EU over agricultural subsidies. “We must continue to work together so as to guarantee that our farmers have the chance to prove their competence and their competitiveness in the international market,” Lula was reported as saying.