Former Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva is beginning a tour of Africa on Wednesday, the Lula Institute said in a statement.

The erstwhile head of state will visit Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Benin and Nigeria and will meet with political leaders, businessmen and representatives from civil society.

During his March 15-16 stay in Ghana, Lula will "participate in a discussion about social programs at the headquarters" of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the institute said.

He will also meet with the country's former president, John Kufuor, "who shared the 2011 World Food Prize with Lula, for his work in combating hunger."

On the last day of the trip, Lula will meet with Nigerian businessmen, as well as with authors from the African country and with the coach of Nigeria's national soccer team, the current African champions who are slated to participate this year in the Confederations Cup tourney in Brazil.

In addition, the former Brazilian leader will participate in the Nigeria Summit 2013, an event organized by The Economist magazine.

In November, Lula visited South Africa, Mozambique and Ethiopia, while the Lula Institute said that later this year he will visit countries in East Africa, although it did not specify which ones or on which dates.

Last month, incumbent Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff traveled to Nigeria to participate in the 3rd Africa-South America Summit.

In recent years, Brazil has notably intensified its trade and political relations with African nations and both Rousseff and Lula have visited the continent on several occasions. EFE