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Speech delivered by the President of the Portuguese Republic in the Closing Ceremony of the Economic Seminar

Honourable President of the Republic and my dear Friend,
Honourable Ministers and Secretaries of State,
Honourable Ambassadors,
Honourable President of CPI,
Honourable President of AICEP,
Honourable Entrepreneurs,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me to start by saluting the presence of President Armando Guebuza in the closing ceremony of this Seminar, in a gesture which honours us all and eloquently witnesses the importance by him attributed to the strengthening of the economic and entrepreneurial relations between Portugal and Mozambique.

I would also like to address a very particular salute to the participation of the Minister for Industry and Trade of Mozambique and congratulate the Presidents of CPI-Mozambican Centre for the Support of Investment and of AICEP-Portuguese Agency for Investment and External Trade for the organization of this opportune initiative. I equally salute and thank all the participants for their presence here.

You will not be surprised at the special relevance I attribute to the opportunity that this Seminar brings, to improve the knowledge of what is currently being done in Mozambique and Portugal, and to tighten the contacts between Mozambican and Portuguese entrepreneurs and other persons responsible for high offices. I see it as an excellent opportunity to revisit ourselves mutually and to open new paths to strengthen entrepreneurial relations and economic links between our two countries.

There is an excellent political relationship between Mozambique and Portugal, an intense cooperation activity in many fields and an ample effort in political and diplomatic coordination and conciliation, to begin with, within the framework of CPLP (Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries). We share an undeniable historical and cultural proximity, a common language and a very similar vision of the world and the future.

In the European, as in International circles, Portugal has never relinquished raising African concerns. When institutionalizing the Europe-Africa political dialogue, the Cairo Summit, held during the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union, in the year 2000, permitted a significant advance in the relations between the two regions.

Europe, Africa and the world meanwhile suffered many changes. The need was felt to readjust the objectives and the tools of our relationship and this took place, precisely, in the II EU-Africa Summit, held last December, in Lisbon, during the Portuguese Presidency. A Joint Strategy was then established, developed for the first time in effective partnership. A strategy which reflects, on equal footing, the concerns and priorities of Europe and Africa regarding the future both regions are being faced with.

With the aim to ensure a maximum of palpable results, to attain a clear positive impact with the people, an Action Plan was prepared containing definite measures until 2010. A Plan which embraces issues as important as the promotion of peace and security, the defence of Human Rights and of good governance, or yet support for the regional agenda and for the improvement of Africa’s access to world markets. And which equally covers the materialization of the Development Objectives for the Millennium, cooperation in issues such as energy, science and the information society, and the fight against illegal immigration and climate change.

I believe this was, in effect, an historical step in the relations between Africa and Europe. And it is also my belief that countries such as Mozambique have special conditions to benefit from this new framework of relationship.

The political and social stability that Mozambique has enjoyed, the reforms it has been carrying out and the macroeconomic management which it has endeavoured to impose are internationally recognized.

The Mozambican economy, which has attracted important foreign investment projects and a substantial flow of external aid, has grown since the beginning of the decade, at an average rate of approximately 8%. This is a remarkable achievement, which places Mozambique among the best cases of post-conflict transition success. And it is equally a course which, considering the much that still has to be achieved in the matter of economic and social development, we would all appreciate seeing sustained and strengthened.

Mozambican authorities have shown they well know the challenges that the country is facing, as well as the opportunities available to them in the global world of our times. The integration of Mozambique in SADC (Southern African Development Community) and its expertise in the management of its participation in international multilateral bodies and financial institutions are very clear examples.

Portugal, in its turn, in order to answer the challenges of integration and globalization, has been experiencing great changes. The structure of the Portuguese economy is changing very fast, and this is visible in the make up of exports, which is very quickly leaving its traditional pattern. A new generation of companies and entrepreneurs has arisen, many of them with a global vocation, in areas of strong scientific and technological content: software applications, information and communication technologies, biotechnology, and renewable energies.

Some of these companies are included in the entrepreneurial retinue of more than 40 members which accompanies me in this visit to Mozambique, and is representative, at the highest level, of several of the more dynamic sectors of the Portuguese economy, increasingly guided towards innovation and internationalization.

To promote the knowledge of the current reality of the Portuguese entrepreneurial texture, especially in those fields where technological innovation is more apparent, is the objective of the exhibition “Portugal-Innovation”, which I will open later in the Portuguese Cultural Centre, with the company, which greatly honours and affects me, of President Armando Guebuza.

I believe that, in spite of an appreciable growth, trade between Portugal and Mozambique is still far from its potential. And, in spite of a significant Portuguese presence in the ranking of foreign direct investment in Mozambique, the truth is that the trend of the last few years has been less positive, both in absolute terms and in respect of its weight in the total Portuguese investment in the PALOP’s (Portuguese Speaking African Countries) and East Timor.

I am however convinced that the conditions exist for this picture to correct itself and that, with a common opening up new horizons, we could be on the threshold of a new cycle of economic and entrepreneurial cooperation.

I see, after all, good motives to believe that Portuguese investment is looking towards Mozambique with renewed enthusiasm. The very quick and numerous responses to the organizing process of the entrepreneurial deputation which accompanies me is a clear and promissory indication. The same is true of the agreements now signed, the relevance of which I allow myself to emphasize.

Mister President,
Honourable Ministers,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Many of the affinities that link us are part of our historic heritage. But no country is hostage to its History. What matters, then, is that we are able to transform the historic heritage into a common asset, valuing it to our mutual benefit. And it is here that I believe there is much that we can achieve together, Mozambique and Portugal, our enterprises and our peoples.

I am certain the entrepreneurial contacts afforded by this Seminar, and others that it placed into perspective, may allow the consolidation of the new dynamism we all wish for the relations between Portugal and Mozambique.

Thank you very much


© 2008 Presidency of the Portuguese Republic