Brazil seeking to increase arms exports to Africa

Brazil is expanding its arms sales and presence in the African arms market.

Brazilian manufacturer Embraer is having more success in Africa than in the United States with its winning light aircraft Super Tucano, which is challenging rivals’ market share in the category.

Embraer’s only deal for the turboprop in the United States collapsed last month after the U.S. Air Force unexpectedly canceled an order for 20 planes to support operations in Afghanistan.

It also dashed hopes of a resulting manufacturing plant creating U.S. jobs in an Embraer partnership with independent defense manufacturer Sierra Nevada Corp.

The cancellation created a diplomatic furor that cast a shadow on Boeing’s bid to win a multibillion fighter jet contract in Brazil.

While the Air Force Super Tucano goes through the motions of diplomacy and commercial rivalry, amid U.S. official assurances the aircraft may still win the deal, Embraer is using its substantial marketing resources and financial incentives to secure customers elsewhere.

The EMB 314 Super Tucano, also known as ALX or A-29, is a machine made for financially strapped armed forces, defense analysts said, citing its competitive upfront outlay and running costs.

A turboprop aircraft designed for light attack, counterinsurgency, close air support and aerial reconnaissance missions in low threat environments, the Super Tucano is also good at providing pilot training.

Embraer’s success so far lies in the plane’s low cost of $9 million-14 million apiece and operational costs of $430-$500 an hour — factors that drew the Air Force to the aircraft before the deal got snarled up in controversy with rival U.S. manufacturers.

Embraer said it booked $180 million in orders for the Super Tucano to be deployed in counterinsurgency and border missions in Angola, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

The aircraft is used by the Brazilian air force in similar roles in the Amazonian border region, where Brazil faces drug trafficking and illegal immigration.

Burkina Faso already has received three aircraft for border patrol missions, Embraer said. Another six will be supplied to Angola’s air force, three of them this year.

Details of the Mauritanian order, due for delivery next year, weren’t immediately available. It was also not clear if the three African countries paid the same price. With the total number of aircraft unknown, defense analysts said they remained unclear about the price paid by each of the countries for their aircraft.

The Super Tucano was a star exhibit at the just ended FIDAE defense and air show in Santiago, Chile.

Embraer Defense and Security President Luiz Carlos Aguiar said, “The Super Tucano is highly efficient and presents low operating costs.

“Its capability for surveillance and counter-insurgency missions makes it ideal for service on the continent of Africa.”

Brazilian government support has helped Embraer score successes in markets that would be inaccessible to U.S. rivals because of congressional constraints and administration policies on qualifying recipient countries for U.S.-made military equipment.

The African arms market is gradually expanding every year. With weapons buyers like Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, to name a few, the sector looks attractive to foreign sellers whether they’re from Russia, Europe, the U.S. and now Latin America in the case with Brazil.


White House Honors Africans in the Diaspora

3  recently honored African leaders at the White House as Champions of Change honorees. The honorees are Teddy Ruge, co-founder of Project Diaspora, Tsehaye Teferra, founder and CEO of the Ethiopian Community Development Council, and Semhar Aria, is founder and Executive Director of DAWN, the Diaspora African Women’s Network.

2012 U.S. Diversity Visa Lottery Open until November 3rd

Each year, the U.S. government makes 50,000 permanent residence visas (“green cards”) available through the Diversity Immigrant Visa program. Visa applicants are selected through a computer-generated, random lottery. The selection of a person’s name in the lottery gives that person the opportunity to take the next steps in the visa application process.  Registration for the 2011 Diversity Visa Lottery (DV-2011) is open from October 5th  to November 3rd the U.S. State Department has announced.

2012 Diversity Visa Lottery Program Registration Period

The Department of State’s DV-2012 Diversity Visa lottery program registration period will open on Tuesday, October 5, 2010. Entries for the DV-2012 Diversity Visa (DV) lottery must be submitted electronically between noon on Tuesday, October 5, 2010 and noon on Wednesday, November 3, 2010, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4).

During this registration period, applicants may access the electronic Diversity Visa entry form (E-DV) at Paper entries will not be accepted. Applicants are strongly encouraged not to wait until the last week of the registration period to enter. Heavy demand may result in website delays. No entries will be accepted after noon, EDT, on November 3, 2010.

The U.S. Department of State invites press to a DV-2012 briefing at 1:00 pm on Monday, September 27th at the Washington Foreign Press Center in the National Press Building at 529 14th Street NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20045. For more information about this briefing, contact Andrea Corey at 202-504-6354.

The congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered annually by the Department of State. Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act makes up to 55,000 Diversity Visas (DV) available each fiscal year to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

The Department of State implemented the electronic registration system beginning with DV-2005 in order to make the Diversity Visa process more efficient and secure. The Department utilizes special technology and other means to identify those who commit fraud for the purposes of illegal immigration or those who submit multiple entries.

Continuing this effort toward a more efficient and secure DV program, the Department of State is introducing an entirely online process to notify lottery entrants of their selection and to provide information about the immigrant visa application and interview. From May 1, 2011, DV-2012 entrants will be able to use their unique confirmation number provided at registration to check online through Entry Status Check at to see if their entry was selected. Successful entrants will receive instructions on how to apply for immigrant visas for themselves and their eligible family members. Confirmation of visa interview appointments will also be made through Entry Status Check.

More information can be found here at State Department Site.

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Nigeria cement ties over Nuclear Proliferation

The U.S. and Nigeria seal cooperation agreement on stopping Nuclear proliferation.

Nigeria and the United States have agreed to work together to counter the spread of nuclear weapons, a senior US official said after a weekend meeting with acting president Goodluck Jonathan.

Undersecretary of state for political affairs William Burns met Jonathan late Saturday as the West leans on the UN Security Council — where Nigeria has a seat — to slap tougher sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme.

“The United States and Nigeria are determined to live up to our responsibility on nuclear issues,” Burns told Nigerian state radio after the meeting, which he described as “excellent”.

Both nations would work together to “both reduce existing nuclear arsenal …and work against the proliferation of nuclear weapons,” he added.

They will also “look for ways in which we can increase cooperation on civilian nuclear energy,” he added.

Burns met Jonathan on the same day that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in Kampala to lobby Uganda — the other African member of the Security Council — on the nuclear issue.

Iran has previously offered to help Nigeria build a nuclear power plant.

Iran faces new sanctions after it refused a nuclear fuel supply deal which would have sent its low-enriched uranium to Russia and France for conversion into high-grade uranium and later returned for its nuclear energy needs.

Last weekend, Iran — which is defying previous UN demands to halt uranium enrichment, and which denies it is on a quest for a nuclear arsenal — said it would lobby all UN Security Council members against sanctions.

Jonathan met US President Barack Obama a fortnight ago when he travelled to Washington on his first foreign trip for an international summit on nuclear security.

Nigeria is the United States’ biggest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa, with about a half of Nigerian crude oil production crossing the Atlantic to the US market.

On April 5 the two countries announced a strategic partnership deal focusing on energy, regional security and good governance — the first time that the Obama administration has afforded such status to an African state

More in depth information on US-Nigeria relations can be found at US State Department site.

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