Portugal supports renewal of Gorongosa Park in Mozambique

8 February 2007

Maputo, Mozambique, 8 Feb – Portugal is to provide support for a project to protect and restore the ecosystem of the Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique and develop and eco-tourism industry, the Portuguese secretary of state for Foreign Affairs said in Maputo Wednesday.

The project is part of the next Inidcative Cooperation Program (PIC) between Portugal and Mozambique for the 2007-2009 period, the memorandum of understanding for which was signed Wednesday by João Cravinho and the Mozambican deputy foreign minister, Henrique Banze.

Speaking to Portuguese news agency Lusa, the secretary of state said that the Gorongosa National Park had been chosen to be part of the cooperation between Lisbon and Maputo in the next three-year period due to the “great development impact,” it could have.

In 2007, Portugal’s involvement in this project will have an estimated cost of 250,000 euros, a figure which could change depending on the capacity to absorb the available funds, or the addition of new areas.

The cooperation agreement also includes co-financing by Portugal to create a “Millennium Village” in Lumbo, in Nampula district, which will make it possible to attract some of the 43,000 inhabitants of neighboring Island of Mozambique, which is facing serious over-population.

The creation of Millennium Villages, which is part of the millennium development goals set by the United Nations in 2000, aims to give poor villages the tools they need to climb out of extreme poverty and develop for themselves, from the ground up.

Each Millennium Village project has an estimated annual cost of US$300,000 over five year, and involves support for building infrastructures, economic activity and education, amongst other sectors.

The Island of Mozambique, which has been a World Heritage Site since 1991, has been suffering due to its poor state of repair of its historical heritage sites, which is worsened by the excessive size of the population.

The island, which is just three kilometers long and 300 to 400 meters wide, has almost 43,000 inhabitants, according to the 1997 census. (macauhub)