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Speech addressed by the President of the Portuguese Republic on the occasion of the Banquet in his honour and that of Mrs. Cavaco Silva, hosted by the President of the Republic of Mozambique

Honourable President Armando Guebuza and my dear friend,
Mrs. Maria da Luz Dai Guebuza,
Honourable Members of the Mozambican Government,
Honourable Members of the Portuguese Government,
Honourable Authorities,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish to start by thanking President Armando Guebuza for his invitation to this State Visit to Mozambique, with which I was very honoured.

I am also very pleased to return to Mozambique, 18 years after my official visit, as the then Prime Minister.

This is also the first State Visit I undertake, as President of the Republic, to an African country whose official language is Portuguese, which interprets the relevance I place on the strengthening of the bonds of friendship and cooperation which link our two countries.

Allow me a personal note. I cannot hide that it is always with particular emotion that I return, with my Wife, to the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean”, where we lived the first years of our married life. This time, I wished to precede this Visit with a private interval, to better show my family the places that I had recounted to them throughout the years and which greatly marked a very intense period of our lives.

The hospitality with which Your Excellency, Mister President, has welcomed us, makes us feel as I hope you will feel in Portugal, whenever you wish to honour us with your visit: as in your own home. I must express, Mister President, my deepest gratitude and recognition.

Mister President,

Portugal and Mozambique are linked by a very special proximity and by bonds of affection, marked by an historical past which is consolidated, every day, by the cooperation between two free countries proud of their sovereignty. Two nations which share a number of values that mould their identity and the way they relate with the world.

Amongst them is the respect for human rights, for freedom and for democracy, as well as the defence of the principle of equality between States and the right to progress and development.

Throughout more than one and a half decades, Mozambique was able to consolidate peace, national reconciliation and democracy, a victory which paid dividends that are reflected in the climate of stability and the progress reached in the socio-economic field.

The implementation of an ambitious reform programme in the public sector and in the macroeconomic field, together with the improvement in the infrastructures, the stimulus provided to entrepreneurial activity and the valuation of human capital, especially in the fields of education and health, have brought remarkable rates of growth to Mozambique, strengthening its image as an attractive destination for investment.

Simultaneously, the adoption of policies in the field of combating poverty and exclusion classify Mozambique as one of the African States better placed to comply with the Development Objectives of the Millennium, particularly as regards the programme to halve poverty indices until 2015.

Without freedom or democracy it would not have been possible for Mozambique to tread this course, nor attain the results which make it an example of good governance and socio-economic development.

And this in spite of the natural disasters it has suffered, such as the recent floods, which dislodged some 60,000 persons and which Portugal – as always – accompanied with feelings of great solidarity.

To these results on the internal front can be added a growing external assertion, such as Mozambique’s integration in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the acquiring of increased responsibilities within the African Union and the United Nations, and the impulse it has endeavoured to provide to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

It is absolutely clear to me, from the talks I already had the opportunity to maintain during the course of today with the Mozambican authorities that, in spite of what still remains to be done, Mozambique is determined to eradicate the spectre of poverty – which Your Excellency always emphasizes as being the most important objective of your government – and to conquer the challenges of competitiveness and progress. The earnestness of the efforts made and the results that have been reached deserve that the aid you need to complete your project with success should not be lacking.

An aid which, with respect to Portugal, has involved structures of State, enterprises and civil organizations. An aid which I assess as globally positive, but that we want to continue strengthening.

Mister President,

Due to its tradition and to its special links with the Portuguese speaking African countries, Portugal assumes itself as a privileged interpreter of the African Continent in European and International circles.

We are convinced that the dynamics of globalization which we nowadays face, demand the need for a more than ever intense dialogue, and a day by day more embracing partnership between our two continents. Thus the relevance we attributed, during the last two Presidencies of the European Union, in 2000 and 2007, to the holding of Summit Meetings between Europe and Africa.

We are particularly pleased with the results reached last December, in Lisbon, with the adoption of a Joint Strategy which reflects, on an equal footing, the concerns and priorities of Europe and Africa as to the challenges both are being faced with.

Mister President,

The current context of the relationship between Portugal and Mozambique could not be more favourable for the strengthening and expansion of our cooperation, once a very complex dossier – that of Cahora Bassa hydroelectric plant – was resolved thanks to the political endeavours of both parties.

The conclusion of the Cahora Bassa process well shows our common determination to look to the future and to confer a new dynamism to our bilateral relationship.

The exhibition “Portugal: Innovation”, which I had the honour to open officially earlier today, in the Portuguese Cultural Centre, and in Your Excellency’s company, is justly inserted in the new dynamics of our relationship. It intends to show the new reality of Portuguese entrepreneurial activity and was designed to meet what may be the interests of the Mozambican market.

In effect, there are a growing number of Portuguese companies that, due to their international dimensions, to their degree of modernity and competitiveness, and to their knowledge of the market and of the African and Mozambican reality, are particularly well placed to strengthen their participation in this country’s economy.

The nature and the level of the entrepreneurial retinue that accompanies me in this Visit, representing some of the more dynamic sectors of our economy, is a clear indication in that sense.

I am certain that the contacts which will take place here, specifically within the framework of the Economic Seminar, promoted by the Mozambican Centre for the Promotion of Investment and by the Portuguese Agency for Investment and External Trade, which Your Excellency wished to honour with your presence, will allow the identification of new and promising business areas. This is anyway proven by the agreements already signed during this Visit.

I also wish to emphasize the importance for Portugal of cooperation with Mozambique, and the support that the multidisciplinary vision, which is the basis of projects such as the cluster of cooperation for the Island of Mozambique and the creation of a Millennium Village in Lumbo, deserves from us. I wished, anyway, as a sign of this same support, that the programme of my visit should include travelling to the Island of Mozambique, especially since it is going through a difficult time as a consequence of the cyclone that recently ravaged that region.

Mister President,

I also pay tribute to Mozambique and to its People for all they have done in the defence and enrichment of the Portuguese language, this heritage we share with six other sovereign States, in four continents.

The Cultural Centre of Eduardo Mondlane University is holding, tomorrow, a Conference on the theme “Portuguese, a Global Language”, in which numerous specialists, writers, musicians, professors and students will take part, and which will have in common the fact they express themselves in Portuguese. I am very pleased to ascertain the presence of rising names in Mozambican culture, linked to the various branches of the arts.

This initiative is of great strategic value for all the members of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries. Our common interests demand that we work jointly on behalf of a greater international assertion of our language, more in line with its statute of the 5th most spoken language in the world. I hope that the conclusions of the Conference may bring a relevant contribution for the definition of a common strategy that allows us to reach that objective.

Mister President,

I firmly believe that the conditions exist for the opening up of a new and promissory dynamism in the relationship between two countries that have so much to undertake together. I want, here and now, to promise you my personal endeavour in that direction.

I end by asking you all to join me in a toast to the health of President Armando Guebuza and of Mrs. Maria da Luz Dai Guebuza, to the growing prosperity of our brothers the People of Mozambique and to the relations between Portugal and Mozambique.


© 2008 Presidency of the Portuguese Republic