Brazil launches international TV station for Africa

President Lula speaking at the launch of TV Brasil Internacional President Lula: The channel's launch is the realisation of a dream

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Brazil has launched an international television station that will broadcast to African nations.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said the aim of the Portuguese-language channel was to represent Brazil to to the world.

The channel shows Brazil's growing interest in Africa, correspondents say.

It will also soon also be available in Latin America, Canada, Europe and the US, according to officials.

Speaking at the launch of TV Brasil Internacional at a ceremony in Brasilia, President Lula described it as the realisation of a dream.

"I don't want a TV channel to speak well of Lula," he said. "I want a channel that speaks well of the country, that can show Brazil as it really is."

TV Brasil Internacional, based in Brasilia, will be re-broadcast via Mozambique's capital, Maputo, to 49 African nations.

The main audiences will be in the African nations where Portuguese is spoken: Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and Sao Tome and Principe.

The programming will come from domestic TV Brasil, with the emphasis on news and culture.

The network will also aim to reach the estimated three million Brazilians who live abroad, officials said.

TV soaps

The launch of TV Brasil Internacional is the latest sign of Brazil's growing interest in Africa as well as its emerging role on the global stage, says BBC Americas editor James Read.

Brazilian mining companies have joined the rush to invest in Africa's natural resources, and its food exporters have found growing markets there.

President Lula himself has been a frequent visitor, promoting diplomatic and economic ties.

Brazilian culture is also popular, from music and football to TV soap operas, while Brazil's own African heritage makes ties closer still, our correspondent says.

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