The many bridges that span Brazil and the UAE

The National - News - - FRONT PAGE - HAFSA AL ULAMA Hafsa Al Ulama is the UAE’s am­bas­sador to Brazil

We might be 12,000 kilo­me­tres apart but the United Arab Emi­rates and Brazil have more in com­mon than you might think.

Men­tion Brazil to any Emi­rati and there is one re­sponse you can al­ways count on: foot­ball, Pele, Ron­aldo – in short, the beau­ti­ful game. Emi­ratis love their foot­ball and there are many Brazil­ian foot­ballers in our own Ara­bian Gulf League.

We very much ad­mire the world-renowned cham­pion Brazil­ian na­tional team and you can bet that we will turn out in our thou­sands to watch them play when they visit Abu Dhabi next month for a friendly match against South Korea.

Sport is a great cross-cul­tural bridge that spans the 12,000km sep­a­rat­ing our coun­tries, which is why it is on the list of mem­o­randa of un­der­stand­ing signed in Abu Dhabi this week between Sheikh Mo­hamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Com­man­der of the Armed Forces, and Brazil­ian Pres­i­dent Jair Bol­sonaro. How­ever, it is by no means the only link between our two na­tions, as the high-level na­ture of this week’s del­e­ga­tion shows.

Brazil has al­ways had a spe­cial place in the hearts of Emi­ratis. It was one of the first na­tions to recog­nise the UAE upon its for­ma­tion in 1971. The val­ues of tol­er­ance, ac­cep­tance, in­ter­faith en­gage­ment and the pro­mo­tion of re­li­gious free­dom fur­ther unite our two na­tions.

This year, we mark 45 years of diplo­matic re­la­tions between our two coun­tries. It is there­fore fit­ting that we were able to host Mr Bol­sonaro dur­ing his first visit to the Arab world.

In­vest­ment, trade and tourism have tra­di­tion­ally been the main­stays of our bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship, with two-way trade worth more than $2.5 bil­lion, and more than 60,000 vis­its by Brazil­ian na­tion­als to the UAE each year. The UAE also hosts the largest com­mu­nity of Brazil­ians in the Gulf, with some 10,000 calling the Emi­rates home.

Both na­tions play an im­por­tant role as a gate­way to their wider re­gions; for Brazil, the UAE serves as the en­try point to the Gulf for its agri­cul­tural prod­ucts. Food se­cu­rity is a key is­sue for the UAE and we see Brazil as a solid, re­li­able part­ner.

Like­wise, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are the UAE’s gate­way to South Amer­ica, with size­able lev­els of in­vest­ment – es­ti­mated at $1 tril­lion – across in­dus­tries such as re­new­able en­ergy, medicine, de­fence and in­fra­struc­ture, with di­ver­si­fied agri­cul­ture and live­stock in­vest­ments also on the hori­zon. It was promis­ing to see nearly 200 busi­ness peo­ple at­tend the re­cent Brazil-UAE Busi­ness Fo­rum in Abu Dhabi to ex­change con­tacts, ex­per­tise and ideas.

Do­ing busi­ness will al­ways be im­por­tant but re­la­tions between our coun­tries are now deeper than this and ready to move to the next level. That is why our lead­ers have agreed to el­e­vate bi­lat­eral re­la­tions to that of a strate­gic part­ner­ship, which in­cludes peace and se­cu­rity as well as eco­nomics, en­ergy, tourism, cul­ture and, of course, sport.

Safe­guard­ing re­gional and in­ter­na­tional se­cu­rity through mul­ti­lat­eral part­ner­ships is very im­por­tant to the UAE. This week, both lead­ers re­it­er­ated their com­mit­ment to fight­ing transna­tional crime and ter­ror­ism and es­tab­lish­ing mil­i­tary at­tache of­fices in both our re­spec­tive na­tions’ cap­i­tals, in an im­por­tant step for­ward in deep­en­ing joint se­cu­rity co-op­er­a­tion.

We want to seize the op­por­tu­nity pro­vided by this firm­ing of ties to fur­ther lever­age our re­la­tion­ship by push­ing into fields such as the en­vi­ron­ment, sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy, and even ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence. Build­ing a knowl­edge-based econ­omy and adopt­ing mod­ern tech­nolo­gies are an es­sen­tial part of the UAE’s fu­ture gov­ern­ment vi­sion and Brazil

From sport to trade, pres­i­dent Jair Bol­sonaro’s visit cel­e­brates our shared val­ues and in­ter­ests

can play a key role in this ad­vance­ment.

Ear­lier this month, the UAE an­nounced that re­cruit­ment has be­gun for the world’s very first uni­ver­sity ded­i­cated to ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence: the Mo­hamed bin Zayed Uni­ver­sity of Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence, which will open for stu­dents from around the world in Sep­tem­ber 2020.

I very much hope to see stu­dents from Brazil mak­ing up part of this multi­na­tional cadre of young tal­ent to fur­ther re­in­force the ex­change of ideas between our coun­tries.

It is our hope that the UAE’s re­la­tion­ship with Brazil con­tin­ues to grow in com­ing years. As Brazil is our gate­way to South Amer­ica, so too do our doors re­main open to Brazil­ians, whose con­tri­bu­tions to eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and com­mit­ment to cul­tural ex­change make our na­tion’s fab­ric stronger.

Brazil­ian Pres­i­dent Jair Bol­sonaro in Abu Dhabi AFP

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