(MENAFN - Brazil-Arab News Agency (ANBA)) Isaura Daniel
Brasília – TheArabic versionof the Brazil-Arab News Agency ( ANBA ) got launched this Wednesday (14), in a bid to provide easier access in the Arab world to news on Brazil and its relations with the Middle East and North Africa. In an event at the Windsor Hotel, in Brazil's federal capital Brasília,Arab Brazilian Chamber of CommerceC-level executives, Arab diplomats, journalists, government officials and other delegates convened to learn more about the initiative. ANBA is the news website of the Arab Chamber.
From L to R, Adghoghi, Sayah, Hannnun and Ghisleni
'Solid relations are built upon respect to the cultures involved, so we have ANBA in Arabic for the Arabs, ANBA in Portuguese for the Brazilians, and ANBA in English for the world at large,' Arab Chamber president Rubens Hannun said during the event. The agency was created in 2003 to fill a gap in Brazilian-Arab communication, and since then it has released over 50,000 articles between in Portuguese and English versions. As of August 14,the website is also running news in Arabic .
The agency is an outlet that features business opportunities for Brazilians and Arabs alike. Hannun presented Brazilian-Arab trade figures and said that from 2001 – two years before ANBA went online – until 2018, Brazilian-Arab trade picked up by 413%, while Brazil's trade with the world grew by a lesser rate at 312%. 'We believe that all this sharing of information and knowledge, coupled with all of the work done by the Arab Chamber, the Arab embassies to Brazil, and the Brazilian embassies to Arab countries, we have been able to achieve this growth,' he said.
Sayah: 400 million people speak Arabic
The ambassador of Lebanon to Brasília, Joseph Sayah, who represented the Council of Arab Ambassadors in Brazil at the event, said ANBA in Arabic is one of the Chamber's many actions to enhance Brazilian-Arab ties. 'This new ANBA initiative will be very important, because now, news from Brazil will reach roughly 400 million Arabic-speaking people, creating a better understanding in that part of the world,' said Sayah.
Besides Hannun and Sayah, ANBA editor-in-chief Alexandre Rocha also spoke at the event. He introduced the website's Arabic version and its various sections and subject matters. The website's launch edition features exclusive interviews with Brazil's vice presidentHamilton Mourão , Agriculture, Livestock and Supply ministerTereza Cristina , and Union of Arab Chambers secretary-generalKhaled Hanafy . 'The goal is to relay knowledge on Brazil to the Arabic-reading public, said Rocha.
Presentation of ANBA's new version
The ambassador of Morocco to Brazil, Nabil Adghoghi, was in attendance. He said ANBA in Arabic will help bring Arab and Brazilian entrepreneurs closer together to do business. 'We are very pleased to witness the good dynamics in trade relations on both sides. Apart from the institutional aspect, with direct involvement from the embassies, the Brazilian government, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and businesspersons, now you have this informational aspect with the Arabic language. This will enable the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce to play an even bigger role in bridging this gap.'
Hannun with ambassadors
Along similar lines, Egypt's ambassador to Brasília, Alaaeldin Roushdy, stressed the relevance of the website to the sharing of information between two peoples. 'This new project is important as a tool for enhancing communication between Brazilians and Arabs,' he said. '[The English version] is important, but everyone [across the region] speaks Arabic, and the website will bring information into the heart of the Arab world,' he argued.
The International Relations and Events director for Brazil's Federal Administration Council (CFA, acronym in Portuguese), Gilmar Camargo, said the website will be helpful in bringing the Arab and Brazilian communities together. The board chairman at the Interamerican Cooperation Agency for Sustainable Development of Water Resources (Interáguas), José Antônio Campos Chaves, said the website's presentation left him enchanted with the Arabic language and encouraged to check it out. 'It's harder for us to speak Arabic with Eastern people in general, and I believe you have succeeded in changing that around,' he said.
Tamer Mansour (2nd, L to R) with Arab diplomats
Counselor and Kuwait diplomatic mission in Brasília deputy chief Tareq Al Yassin said ANBA's new Arabic version helps break down barriers. 'Brazil is very important to us. There is a potential for more cooperation, more opportunities, but the language and the distance pose obstacles,' he asserted. 'We get asked about Brazil a lot, and the agency will be a go-to source for people looking to do business or to visit the country,' he said.
'I believe this is a great initiative from the Arab Chamber to facilitate communication between the Arab and Brazilian communities,' said the first secretary at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia to Brazil, Abdullah Alghamdi.
Diplomats in attendance also included Embassy of Jordan chargé d'affaires Mutazz Khasawneh, Embassy of Mauritania second counselor Ahmed Hamed, Embassy of Saudi Arabia counselor Mohammed Khan, and Embassy of Bahrain attaché on trade Abdulla Albaker.
Arab Chamber president Rubens Hannun also took the opportunity to celebrate other victories, such as Brazilian-Arab trade numbers. He revealed some of the organization's strategic plans for 2018-2028, designed to make Arab countries into Brazil's third biggest partner in trade. 'We ended 2018 as the fifth-biggest partner, and now, seven months into the year, our exports to Arab countries have gone up by 17%, meaning we have already climbed to number three,' he told the attendees.
The event took place in Brasília
Hannun remarked that Arab countries are also the second biggest destination for Brazilian agribusiness products, and the number one destination for Brazilian animal protein. He also mentioned the six-month anniversary of the Arab Chamber's first international office, in Dubai, the UAE. He said that although it's in Dubai, the office is tasked with handling Brazil's relations with each and every Arab country.
The event was also attended by Brazilian Foreign Ministry Agribusiness Promotion Department director Alexandre Ghisleni, Arab Brazilian Chamber secretary-general Tamer Mansour, CFA Studies and Projects director Gracita Barbosa, and Vivian Oliveira, from consulting firm Datagro, among other guests.
Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum