Address by the President of the Republic at the Angola-Portugal Entrepreneurial Forum in Lobito

I am very pleased to address you all at this Entrepreneurial Forum.

Please allow me to address my first words to greet the illustrious presence of the Provincial Governor, a great honour for us and sufficient proof of the importance that the Government of the Province of Benguela attaches to the Portuguese entrepreneurial presence.

I wish to congratulate you, Mister Governor and, through you all the people of the Province of Benguela, for the visible progress that this part of the territory of Angola has been recording, a reflection of the vision of its leaders, of the wealth of its resources and of the enterprising capabilities of its inhabitants.

I also wish to extend my greetings to all those who have made possible the holding of this Forum, an extremely opportune initiative.

The economic relations between Portugal and Angola have been growing very visibly. Angola is today the fourth largest destination of Portuguese exports and the mutual economic interests are already vast, both of the Angolans in Portugal and of the Portuguese in Angola.

It is however necessary to strengthen and consolidate these relations. We cannot ignore that a lot still remains to be carried out to avoid that the economic relations between Portugal and Angola develop solely in line with the economic cycle and with momentary opportunities.

In this sense, I have defended that the deepening of the entrepreneurial relationship between the two countries must be carried out on a long term basis and with a philosophy of social responsibility.

The presence of Portuguese companies in Angola must be based upon a strategic and future vision: this also means investing in the training and qualification of local workers and cadres, by betting on research and innovatory projects, and by creating partnerships and agreements of entrepreneurial cooperation.

In similar terms I have endeavoured to emphasize that Angola is not just Luanda. There are opportunities over the whole extension of the Angolan territory, on the coastline and in the interior, which can and must be taken advantage of by both parties.

The case of Benguela and Lobito is indicative of what I am referring. The refurbishment of the railway corridor that is currently being undertaken, together with the potential offered by the Port of Lobito, which I shall visit today, has a strategically determining value for the future of Angola, clearly strengthening its role as a platform for access to the remaining Southern African countries.

In this sense, it is convenient to remember that the regional Southern African Development Community offers extremely significant investment opportunities, resources and potentialities, comprising a market with 250 million consumers.

The choice of the Province of Benguela as a destination of investment constitutes, for this reason, a scenario with innumerable potential advantages. The decision of AICEP to install a listening post here is a clear sign that this reality is recognized by the Portuguese authorities and, I am certain, will constitute a relevant stimulus for the already existing Portuguese companies installed here – to whom I address a special greeting – and to those who are intending to come here.

I am equally certain that either one of you can count with the support of the Provincial Government, since it recognizes in them an important factor for the promotion of economic and social development.

I hope this Forum will produce results which will effectively contribute towards the strengthening of the Portuguese entrepreneurial presence in the Province of Benguela and, through it, for the desirable deepening of the relations between our two countries.

Thank you very much.