Equatorial Guinea and Galicia add 76 billion euros to the economic weight of the “Portuguese-speaking” nations

14 April 2014

Equatorial Guinea and Galicia are the two economies closest to joining the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries (CPLP) and they may add almost 76 billion euros to the bloc’s economic weight.

Equatorial Guinea, whose economy is worth US$19.7 billion (14.2 billion euros) is expected to join the CPLP in July and the autonomous Spanish region of Galicia, which has important historical and cultural ties with Portugal, this week adopted a law intended to boost its ties with the eight Portuguese-speaking nations.

Law 1/2014, also known as the Paz Andrade Law, “for making use of the Portuguese language and ties with Lusophony,” noted that Portuguese is now the most widely spoken language in the southern hemisphere and is a working language for 20 international organisations, and the official language of “nine countries and the territory of Macau, China.”

“Amongst them are economic powerhouses such as Brazil and other emerging economies,” the law says, stipulating that Portuguese should be taught more in the region and used in public administration as well as promotion of the presence of entities and people from Portuguese-speaking countries at Galician Autonomous Community events.

“To improve Galician social, economic and cultural development, the authorities should promote all the measures necessary to best make use of that historical advantage,” it said.

Without referring specifically to the CPLP or to Forum Macau, the two biggest diplomatic and political hubs of the Portuguese-speaking world, the Galician law stipulates “participation by institutions in Portuguese-speaking areas of all kinds,” namely the economic and cultural sectors.

With 2.8 million inhabitants, Galicia’s economy is worth around 55.8 billion euros and has important automotive, textile, forestry and other sectors.

Equatorial Guinea’s membership of the CPLP is expected to be concluded in July, at the CPLP summit in Dili, after the country has fulfilled all of the requirements.

The economic weight of Equatorial Guinea, which is the result of a significant oil industry, is already felt in Portugal, where recently a public investment fund reached an agreement to buy a stake in the Banif bank.

According to the chairman of the Business Confederation of the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries (CE-CPLP), Salimo Abdula, the joint gross domestic product (GDP) of the Portuguese-speaking countries now accounts for around 4 percent of total world GDP, and is expected to grow.

Speaking recently, Abdula said he expected Portuguese-speaking countries to account for 10 percent of world GDP, within ten to fifteen years, if governments join forces and focus on having a real economic community.

“We have the conditions, we have been blesses, we have the large scale natural resources that have been discovered over the last ten years, we have a young workforce and, if we position ourselves properly, taking the technology needed to provide added value to our natural resources where they exist, we can turn the CPLP into a star,” Abdula told Portuguese news agency Lusa.

Trade between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries rose 2.31 percent in 2013 5o US$131.4 billion, with Brazil remaining as China’s main economic partner (US$89.85 billion in trade, or 5.11 percent more year on year).

With Angola, which was the second-largest trading partner in the Portuguese-speaking world, trade fell by 4.24 percent, to US$35.91 billion, and with Portugal, which is the third-largest Portuguese-speaking partner, trade fell 2.78 percent to US$3.9 billion.

With Mozambique trade rose 22.6 percent to US$1.64 billion in 2013. (macauhub/PT)

MACAUHUB FRENCH