From 16 to 19 November, HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway visited Brazil together with the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry, Monica Mæland, five deputy ministers and a large business delegation composed by 95 people from 48 companies. The list of business delegates is available here.
Meeting with Brazilian Vice President in Brasília
The official visit started in the Brazilian capital on Monday. Brasilia is the fourth largest city in Brazil with a population of 2,9 million. It is a planned city designed by the famous architect Oscar Niemeyer. The city was constructed over a period of 4 years at the end of the 1950s.
His Royal Highness was welcomed to Brasília by the Vice President of Brazil, Mr. Michel Temer, and they had lunch at the Itamaraty Palace, home to the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
At the residence of the Norwegian Ambassador Aud Marit Wiig, Crown Prince Haakon was introduced to Brazilian students from Science without Borders, a large-scale nationwide scholarship program primarily funded by the Brazilian federal government. The program seeks to strengthen and expand the initiatives of science and technology, innovation and competitiveness through international mobility of undergraduate and graduate students and researchers.
In addition, the Norwegian Confederation of Industries (NHO) and their Brazilian counterpart CNI arranged a roundtable conference on commerce and industry for the delegation.
In the evening, back to Rio de Janeiro, the business delegation was welcomed by Innovation Norway’s director in Brazil. Helle Moen used the opportunity to release the 2015 version of the Norwegian Investment Report, developed by Inventure Management under the demand of IN, the Norwegian Consulate General and the Norwegian Embassy. The report is available here.
High focus on business and long-term cooperation
On Tuesday, the official program started at Hotel Sofitel, where four business seminars took place. Crown Prince Haakon, Minister Monica Mæland, the president of BNDES, Mr. Luciano Coutinho, and the chairman of the board of Innovation Norway, Mr. Per Otto Dyb, opened the plenary session for an audience of more than 400 people.
The seminars were organized by Innovation Norway in close cooperation with the Norwegian Consulate General, INTSOK, the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association and its Brazilian office ABRAN, INTPOW, the Norwegian Seafood Council and the Seed Forum Foundation; and had focus on oil&gas and offshore maritime, renewable energy, seafood and startup companies.
DNB and Finep signed a memorandum of understanding during the business event. The framework of the agreement includes DNB being able to issuing guarantees for innovation projects financed by Finep.
Busy agenda in Rio de Janeiro
The Crown Prince’s agenda included a tasting of bacalhau in a supermarket in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil is the largest consumer of Norwegian bacalhau, which has a long tradition in the Brazilian cuisine and makes up one fifth of Norwegian exports to the South American nation.
In the Guanabara Palace, home to the Government of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Crown Prince Haakon had lunch with mayor Eduardo Paes and State governor Luiz Fernando Pezão. After that, HRH visited Petrobras’ research centre CENPES, where researchers from both countries are developing the first mobile robot for offshore installations.
In the afternoon, Crown Prince Haakon was given a guided tour onboard of DOF’s OSV Skandi Parati in Vard Shipyard. The ship is being constructed in Brazil using BNDES financing. In the shipyard, he was introduced to the Norwegian NGO’s Karanba and Dream Learn Work, and participated in the awarding ceremony of five young professionals that have been offered technical education through DLW.
Moreover, the Crown Prince of Norway went to Itaboraí to take part in the opening of Jotun’s new marine ad protective coating factory. Minister Mæland also addressed the audience mentioning the strategic commitment that Norway has towards Brazil. The State governor Luiz Fernando Pezão participated in the event and expressed gratitude for the confidence Norwegian companies have demonstrated in the long-term business relation with Brazil, especially in the hard time the Brazilian economy is going through.
The facility is Jotun’s first in South America. The total investment accounts for more than BRL 100 million, and the plant will have a 10-million-liter annual production capacity.
In the evening, the ambassador Aud Marit Wiig hosted a formal business reception for the Crown Prince at the Copacabana Palace hotel.
Research collaboration in the Amazon
On Wednesday, the Crown Prince travelled to Belém, where he participated in a seminar on climate change and biodiversity research in the Amazon. Later that day, he attended the signing ceremony for the memorandum of understanding between the State of Pará and the Research Council of Norway to promote academic collaboration and exchange. The State governor of Pará hosted a dinner.
Belém is the capital and largest city of the state of Pará, located in the northern part of Brazil. Belém has a population of approx. 1.4 million and is the gateway to the Amazon river with a busy port, airport, and bus station. Pará is the second biggest state in Brazil, and most of its territory is covered by the amazon forest. The local economy is based on mineral extraction (iron, bauxite, manganese, limestone, gold, tin), vegetable (wood), agriculture, livestock, industry and tourism.
The Norwegian forest initiative has contributed approx. 1 billion USD to the Amazon Fund between 2008 -2015. Brazil’s figures for 2014 show reduced deforestation by nearly 75 percent compared to the average annual deforestation in the period 1996 to 2005. About 30 percent of the world’s remaining rainforests are in Brazil. More than 25 million people live in the Brazilian Amazon, and many depend on the forest for survival. Brazil launched the Amazon Fund in 2008, which is open for contributions from governments, individuals and industry. Norway is the most important contributor to the Fund. The Fund is managed by BNDES (The Brazilian Development Bank).
On Thursday, the agenda included a visit to National Institute for Space Research (INPE) and a boat trip to the Combú island. Later the same day, the delegation traveled back to Rio de Janeiro, from where Crown Prince Haakon left Brazil.