CPLP to shift focus from language to economy, says secretary-general

The growing interest of countries such as South Korea in the status of observer to the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) shows the economic potential of the organisation without language being the central priority, the secretary general Maria do Carmo Silveira said on Wednesday in London.

South Korea is the second Asian country to become a CPLP observer country, after Japan, which already has observer status, along with Senegal, Namibia, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Uruguay, Georgia, Slovakia, Mauritius and Hungary.

Silveira, quoted by Portuguese news agency Lusa, said that Italy, Côte d’Ivoire, Andorra, Argentina and Chile are at an advanced stage, and approval of their observer status is expected to be addressed at the Sal summit in Cabo Verde (Cape Verde) scheduled for 17 and 18 July.

In a seminar at the Royal Institute of International Relations in London, the São Tomean leader, in office for 15 months, argued that the CPLP must adapt to the “profound changes in the internal political and economic situation of the member states and significant transformations in the way world economies function.”

“For African member countries, the CPLP should not remain focused on the Portuguese language as it did 20 years ago. The exclusively linguistic criterion no longer makes sense. Other existing organisations based on this criterion have adapted and changed their composition and strategic objectives,” said Silveira.

Silveira said that the CPLP’s potential lies mainly in economic and business cooperation, but recalled that the decision to reform the organisation created in 1996 depends on the leaders of Angola, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Portugal, Sao Tome and Principe and Timor-Leste (East Timor). (macauhub)