11.04.2005 Business & Finance

Ghana-Brazil Chamber of Commerce to be inaugurated

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Accra, April 11, GNA - The inauguration of the Ghana-Brazil Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Accra on Wednesday would form part of the programme drawn for the visit of Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva's visit to Ghana.

President da Silva arrives in Accra on Tuesday for a two-day visit as part of a five-nation West African tour, aimed at bolstering relations with countries in the sub-region.

The tour, which would be President da Silva's third visit to the continent, would also take him to Cameroon, Nigeria, Guinea Bissau and Senegal.

An official statement issued in Accra said during the visit, which is at the invitation of President John Agyekum Kufuor, the two leaders would hold bilateral talks on a wide range of issues of mutual concern to both countries including trade, commerce and economic. President da Silva would be the special guest of honour at a state banquet to be hosted by President Kufuor where he would be decorated with Ghana's highest national award.

He would be the first Brazilian President to visit Ghana since the South American country was founded in 1889.

In July 2004, President da Silva took part in the summit of the African Portuguese-Speaking Community and then visited Gabon and Cape Verde.

He undertook his first tour of the African continent in November 2003 during which he visited Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa.

During those visits, President da Silva sought not only to strengthen economic ties but also expressed interest in collaborative efforts in fighting HIV/AIDS in the host countries.

President da Silva's life is a classic story of rising from grass to grace.

Da Silva was born in October 1945 at Vargem Grande, an impoverished community located in the northeast of Brazil. His family moved to the large State of Sao Paulo when he was seven and he left school at 14 to become a shoeshine boy and later metalworker.

In the 1970s, Da Silva honed his political skills as a fiery union leader in the industrial suburbs of Sao Paulo. With a long history of labour unions, he progressed and became a founding member of the left-wing Workers' Party.

In 1986, he was elected to the House of Representatives and in 1990 he made his first of three unsuccessful runs for the Presidency. Popularly known as Lula, squid, Da Silva became Brazil's first left-wing president in four decades when he beat his government-backed rival by a wide margin in the October 27 2002 elections.

Following his victory at the fourth attempt, President da Silva's celebrations broke out across Brazil, with supporters of the man saying they now had real hopes of a better life for all Brazilians. At his inauguration in 2003, he promised to make ending hunger his main goal during his presidency.

Lula also pledged to tackle corruption and Brazil's economic woes, improve education and create jobs.

But he has urged patience, warning that it might not be possible to fulfil his campaign promises in his initial four-year term. He also pledged to meet targets set by the International Monetary Fund.

Lula oversaw a stabilisation of the economy during his first months in office, surprising some of his critics. He implemented pension reforms in an effort to reduce a huge deficit, and pushed through a modest increase in the minimum wage.

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