Brazilian President Dilma Roussef speaks at the 68th United Nations General Assembly on September 24, 2013 in New York City. Over 120 prime ministers, presidents and monarchs are gathering this week at the U.N. for the annual meeting. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Brazil’s president says she’ll ask congress to pass legislation to reserve 20 percent of the nation’s government jobs for blacks.

About half of Brazil’s 204 million people are black — more than in any nation except Nigeria.

Blacks face persistent socio-economic inequality in Brazil, and President Dilma Rousseff says her proposal will help reverse that. She says “affirmative action is essential” for creating equal opportunities.

There is no word on when congress might begin debating the proposal.

Rousseff also said Tuesday that by the end of next year, her government will have sent a doctor to each of Brazil’s more than 3,500 “quilombos.” Those are settlements founded by descendants of Brazil’s slaves.

Brazil had more African slaves land on its shores than any other country in the Americas.

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