Portugal wants to replicate “intense relationship” it has with Angola, in Mozambique

18 June 2012

Portugal is interested in repeating in Mozambique the model of “intense relations” it has with Angola, although it still has “a lot of work to do,” to achieve that aim, said Portuguese analyst Pedro Seabra.

In a recent article entitled, “Portugal and Mozambique: Emulating the Angolan Model,” for the Portuguese International Relations and Security Institute (IPRIS), Seabra said that both countries were, “paying more attention to the unexplored potential of their bilateral partnership,” since reaching agreement on transfer of the Cahora Bassa Hydroelectric Dam (HCB) from Portuguese to Mozambican ownership.

“The first indications allow for some cautious optimism,” in terms of the aim of boosting economic relations with Mozambique to the intense level of those linking Portugal and Angola, he said.

An example of this, Seabra said, is organising regular high level bilateral summits the results of which have been seen as positive by both governments.

Two-way trade is also at a high, with Portuguese exports to Mozambique rising by over 25 percent in the last five years, whilst imports rose by over 17 percent.

The Mozambican energy sector, “will certainly attract more interest,” Seabra said, given that the agreement on Cahora Bassa outlines the active participation of Portuguese power grid company REN, whose main shareholder is China Grid, in local expansion projects.

Over the next five years “massive investments” are also expected to be made by Galp Energia in natural gas exploration in Mozambique, he said.

Increased relations are also visible through the number of Portuguese emigrating to Mozambique, increased visa requests and, as with Angola, also problems with them being issued.

“Generally speaking, it is undeniable that there are growing similarities between Portugal’s relationship with Angola and with Mozambique,” said Seabra.

“Even so, whilst one [Angola] is currently at the top of the priority destinations for Portuguese investments and exports, the other is still in a very initial stage,” he said.

According to Seabra, there is still, “a lot of work to do” for Lisbon to be as close to Maputo, economically-speaking, as it is to Luanda.

“But the lack of difficult issues, such as the matter of the Cahora Bassa dam, certainly gives confidence that the favourable political context created by the last summit will be made use of in terms of closer bilateral contacts and multiple business opportunities in the short and medium-term,” the analyst said. (macauhub)