10 years of the Brazil-South Africa Strategic Partnership. Reasons to celebrate and a glimpse of the future.
Today is a special day for Brazilians, as it marks the 198th anniversary of our Independence. It is a joyous occasion and an opportunity to celebrate the good relations between Brazil and South Africa. This is particularly relevant in 2020, as we commemorate ten years of the establishment of our Strategic Bilateral Partnership. During the last decade, our countries have achieved unprecedented levels in their relations.
Brazil and South Africa are natural partners. The historic bonds of friendship and solidarity between our peoples are at the heart of the excellent relationship between our countries. These solid ties have impelled our past and present governments to pursue growing political, economic, and socio-cultural relations, which culminated in ten years of bilateral Strategic Partnership.
Under its framework, Brazil and South Africa have consolidated relations marked by intense political dialogue, relevant economic links, and significant cooperation in key areas of mutual interest. Most importantly, our relationship is actively contributing to the promotion of sustainable and lasting development in both countries. In the insert that comes with today’s edition of the Pretoria News, the Embassy of Brazil sought to present some of the many important achievements of our bilateral partnership in the last ten years and to outline a more in-depth picture of the current dimension of our relations.
While we celebrate our accomplishments, however, we must not take our eyes off the prospects for our partnership as it enters its second decade. With this view, and as an example of the potential of our partnership, we have also singled out in the insert some new areas for cooperation, which both countries have expressed their willingness to explore further.
These new joint initiatives, in their early stages of development, cover areas increasingly relevant to our countries such as the fight against transnational crimes and criminal networks. They also comprise highly innovative and dynamic sectors, such as bioenergy, startups incubation, and the aerospace industry. I am certain that they are bound to play a significant role in the efforts of our countries to catch up with the latest changes in the world economy. They will also assist in the efforts of our governments to generate new jobs, especially among the youth.
Perhaps the most important opportunity for cooperation in the next decade, however, involves one of the most ancient activities in human history: agriculture. In the past decades, Brazil has become a renowned powerhouse in agriculture and livestock. Most notably, we have managed to induce our green revolution in a way that enhanced our food security, promoted social inclusion, and did not compromise the environment.
We have done this by combining continuous investment in research and special attention to smallholder farmers. Today, there are more than 4 million properties of the kind, employing over 12 million people and generating a revenue of more than 55 billion dollars every year. They account for 40% of the income of the country’s economically active population. Moreover, they are crucial for our food security, producing over 70% of the beans, 60% of the milk, and 50% of the poultry consumed in Brazil, among many other staples. Gains in productivity over the past decades have made possible these results, while also preserving the natural environment. Today, Brazil has more than two-thirds of its territory still covered by native vegetation.
The governments of Brazil and South Africa are currently exploring the possibilities of joint endeavours in this sector. Though discussions are still going on, the perspectives are encouraging. Advancements in agriculture, especially regarding smallholders, could contribute to ensure food security, reduce unemployment and promote more inclusive and sustainable economic growth not only in South Africa but in the whole southern region of this continent.
Though our goals may sound ambitious, we are deeply encouraged by our achievements so far. Above all, we remain committed to the vision that led to the establishment of our Strategic Partnership, ten years ago. We can achieve growing prosperity for our peoples through deeper cooperation and ever more solid bonds of friendship between our countries.