Ports in Portuguese-speaking African countries need technical staff

19 May 2006

Porto, Portugal, 19 May – A lack of mid- and uppe- level technically trained staff is the main problem affecting the ports of Portuguese-speaking African countries and East Timor, said Xavier Alphaise, the head of the United Nations for the sector.

“Difficulties exist in the entire port chain, but the most urgent task is to train mid and upper-level technical staff,” said Alphaise, who is responsible for Training and of Development of Infrastructures of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Alphaise was speaking at the training center of the Port of Leixões in northern Portugal, where a meeting of specialists in training port staff was held, which was jointly organized by UNCTAD and the Port of Leixões, to assess the training requirements of Portuguese-speaking countries.

The meeting, which took place within the framework of the cooperation program of the Port of Leixões with UNCTAD, was attended by representatives of ports in African Countries with Portuguese as an Official Language (PALOP) and East Timor.

“The situations are different in the several Portuguese-speaking nations, with smaller countries dealing with problems of size, as is the case of Sao Tome and Principe and Guinea Bissau, while in the larger countries, such as Angola and Mozambique the difficulties arise form problems of great instability,” said Alphaise.

Alphaise said that the case of East Timor was even more delicate, as it was simultaneously facing difficulties related to political instability and problems of scale due to the small size of its territory and its distance from other countries with Portuguese as an official language.

Cape Verde is the exception as it is already at an advanced stage of training of its port staff, and is even able to provide trainers to the remaining Portuguese-speaking countries. (macauhub)