BRAZILIAN President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva (left) and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron pose for pictures under a tree on arrival at Combu Island, in Brazil’s Para state.—AFP
BRAZILIAN President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva (left) and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron pose for pictures under a tree on arrival at Combu Island, in Brazil’s Para state.—AFP

BELM: French President Emmanuel Macron kicked off a visit to Brazil on Tuesday with the launch of a billion-euro Amazonian green investment plan alongside his counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The pair’s trip to Belem, the northern host city of a major UN climate summit next year, makes Macron the first president of France to visit Brazil in over a decade and comes after a stop in nearby French Guiana.

His public event with Lula on the jungle island of Combu, full of smiles and affectionate gestures, highlighted the stark reversal of relations since the term of Jair Bolsonaro, Lula’s far-right predecessor.

The former president had clashed with Macron’s government over environmental destruction — and even lobbed insults directed at French first lady Brigitte Macron.

The investment plan aims to raise “1 billion euros ($1.08 billion) of public and private investment over the next four years,” according to a roadmap published by the French presidency ahead of next year’s COP30 summit.

The leaders are seeking to promote “a great public and private global investment plan into the bioeconomy” in the Brazilian and Guyanese Amazon, the announcement said, especially as Brazil presides over the G20 for 2024.

France, the seventh largest economy in the world, and Brazil, the ninth largest, are considered key players in a geopolitical scene marked by rivalry between China and the United States.

Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2024

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