By Greg Morsbach
BBC News, Caracas
Venezuela is launching a big diplomatic offensive to build closer ties
with the African continent.
The government wants to open more diplomatic missions in Africa and
invest in oil operations there.
Venezuela is reaching out to Africa, says Foreign Minister for African
Affairs Reinaldo Bolivar.
During a meeting with African diplomats in Brazil, Mr Bolivar said
Venezuela would this year be offering technical and legal know-how in
the oil sector.
He said his country's state-owned oil company PDVSA was studying the
possibility of entering oil exploration partnerships with a string of
Security Council bid
Last year, Venezuela started imposing joint venture agreements and
higher taxes on multi-national oil giants operating in its oil fields.
Venezuelan diplomats may advise African energy ministers to go down that
The South American country is currently pushing for a more visible
presence in Africa.
It wants to open diplomatic missions in 12 African nations, including
the oil-rich Sao Tome and Principe, Democratic Republic of Congo and
Central African Republic.
The Venezuelan foreign ministry has also announced plans to set up
health and education projects in Africa together with Cuba.
Venezuela would like to see strong African support for its bid to gain a
seat on the UN Security Council in New York.
Officials here in Caracas say that so far they are confident of
receiving backing from Ghana and Zimbabwe.