A Gateway to Lusophone Africa
An independent country since 1143, Portugal is one of the oldest nations in Europe.
The size of Indiana, it is home to 10.6 million people with an average per capita GDP of over $24,000 per year. It is one of the European Union’s original member nations and a founding member of the Euro currency zone. Portugal ranks 48th in the 2009 “Ease of Doing Business” rankings (World Bank) - ahead of Spain, Italy and Greece. With modern infrastructure, a versatile workforce, a safe and stable environment, and full EU integration, Portugal continues to be a close ally and good friend of the United States.
Today, over 1.3 million Portuguese live in the United States, with sizable communities in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, California, and Hawaii. At the same time, Portugal is uniquely situated at the crossroad of continents, with the rest of Europe to the east, the Americas to the west, and Africa to the south. It shares a special historical, political, and economic relationship with the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (Comunidades dos Países de Língua Portuguesa - CPLP), which includes Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe and East Timor. Over 223 million people around the world speak Portuguese, making it the 6th most spoken language in the world. Portugal is well-positioned to serve as an effective gateway and low-risk facilitator between the U.S. and these promising world markets.
Portugal is currently one of the top five suppliers to Mozambique, which helps explain the interest and presence of more than 1,500 Portuguese companies. The Portuguese national airline, TAP, offers direct flights to Maputo, and major Portuguese companies such as Sonae (manufacturing and services), Pestana (hospitality and tourism), Millennium BCP (financial services), Mota Engil (construction), Galp (energy), and Portugal Telecom are substantially increasing their operations and investments in Mozambique. The Portuguese government has also prioritized Lusophone Africa, including Mozambique as an important destination for exports and investments, with Ministry of Economy officials leading business delegations to the region, extending new credit lines across sectors, and expanding their network of Investment Agency offices in major African cities.
As a partner in organizing this conference, the Portuguese Business Development Agency (AICEP) sees great value in promoting U.S.-Portuguese business linkages for increased trade with Lusophone Africa, and believes that the economies of Angola, Mozambique, and Cape Verde will continue to grow and diversify over the medium to long term.