Venezuela will help train petroleum engineers and other cadres of experts to help in the exploration of petroleum products across Africa under the various cooperation agreements which the South American nation signed with African states, officials said Friday.
Venezuela’s Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Reinaldo Jose Bolivar said his country had signed more than 150 different cooperation pacts with African states to help in the training of petroleum experts, under the South America-African Union partnership.
“We have discussed petroleum with regard to the training of experts,” Bolivar told journalists after emerging from a two-hour long consultative meeting with the African Union Commission Chairperson Jean Ping.
He said Venezuela was also looking into ways of cooperating with the various African states on how to counter the effects of the current global financial crisis.
However, asked whether Ethiopia was among the countries earmarked to receive this special training of petroleum experts, Bolivar said his country would be open to consider a strategy, if proposed by the Ethiopian government, for the training of staff.
“The more significant thing is to sign an agreement to facilitate the cooperation with Ethiopia,” the Venezuelan official said.
He said the country’s current relationship with Africa is guided by the principles of the African Union.
“The African Union is a solid organization and the position it takes, is a continental position,” Bolivar said.
Financing Ethiopian schools
Venezuela has decided to finance the construction of schools across Ethiopia, which it said was central to its own government’s policy of financing education.
Ethiopian schools, which receive this funding, would also benefit from the Venezuela’s cooperation with the World Food Programme (WFP) to receive funds for school feeding.
Venezuela is one of South America’s leading producers of crude oil.
Meanwhile, the slide in the cost of crude oil is detrimental to oil producing countries and would discourage new investments in the drilling and exploration of new wells, the Venezuelan official said.
Bolivar said the slide in the cost of crude oil, though expected to significantly affect his government’s revenue, would not deter it from implementing its international obligations.
“There is no equitable price for petroleum. If this trend continues, this will affect investments in the countries that produce oil,” he said.