Brazilian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Isabel Azevedo Heyvart
by Renata Giraldi
At the height of the crisis in the countries of North Africa, the representative of Brazil to the African Union (AU) – which brings together 53 nations – was called to share her thoughts. The ambassador of Brazil in Ethiopia, Isabel Azevedo Heyvart, told Agência Brasil that Africans have “tremendous respect” for the Brazilian government and look at the country as a “model” of economic and social development.
“Brazil is a kind of like an older brother that serves as an inspiration and model with which African countries identify themselves”, said the diplomat, who has spent a year and half in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia and the AU headquarters. Only in Addis Ababa there are 20 international organizations and 95 foreign embassies. The presence of a Brazilian representation at the site has an objective, she said, to expand areas of cooperation and partnerships.
In March, when the crisis in the countries of North Africa worsened – Turkey, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Bahrain, among others – there was an emergency meeting in Addis Ababa. On the occasion, the Ambassador reiterated that Brazil supported the search for a negotiated solution without external interference, respecting fundamental rights – of speech and press.
According to Heyvart, the concerns of African leaders include, besides the worsening of the so-called democratic crisis, the intensification of internal clashes and periods of famine and drought in several countries as well as the quest for economic and social development.
The Brazilian diplomat integrates a group of 14 ambassadors who were assigned to analyze the situation of women and girls in Sudan – who lived a long period of confrontation until the independence of Southern Sudan in July this year.
“Our feminine viewpoint was key because we observed in another way the problems that were previously reported by others. In situations of armed conflict, it was always women, girls and children in general that are the main victims”, said the ambassador. “We listened carefully to the women and children and heard their demands. Before, their experiences were reported by third parties.”
Meanwhile, Isabel Heyvart administers the requests that she receives daily from the public and private sectors to seek mutual investment between African countries and Brazil. The ambassador noted that with economic growth of 7.5% expected for this year, Ethiopia attracts the attention of foreigners. For her, the country’s economy is booming with space for advances in various sectors.
According to Isabel Heyvart, the areas of basic infrastructure, agricultural and social programs are among the priorities of seeking partnerships with Brazil. According to the diplomat, the history of Ethiopia is based on agriculture and that must be respected, as well as the shortcomings need to be addressed, since the country goes through periods of drought and famine (and currently going through this phase).
The ambassador also noted that 75% of the subjects discussed today in the international community are related to Africa. Despite the social and economic difficulties in virtually the entire continent, Heyvart said she considers herself a privileged observer.
“Ethiopian society is conscious of itself. The new generation, which assumes different roles in the country, is preoccupied in developing Ethiopia, which is prepared and working hard to change the current situation”, said the diplomat. “I find it fascinating to watch this process in the 21st century.”
Source: Agência Brasil