Business Summit in Portuguese Speaking Countries
Long before Portuguese-speaking countries closed their first business summit in Simpopo, Equatorial Guinea, which brought together around 250 government officials and business leaders from Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde and Sao Tome and Principe , Portugal, Brazil and Mozambique, it was described as a step aimed at bringing about sustained trade development.
Some have argued that the gathering has historically provided the opportunity for immense business networking and strategy development opportunities. It also provides an important impetus for strengthening future trade collaboration between countries.
According to the organizers, the main objective was to explore ways to attract investment in the countries of the bloc, as well as to strengthen economic ties between member states and improve the business environment.
At the opening of the two-day summit, promoted by the Confederation of Businessmen of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), the President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang, said that the frequent attacks by militants in Cabo Delgado, in northern Mozambique, should be of concern to the Communities of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP).
“The Republic of Mozambique is the scene of attacks perpetrated, planned and financed from outside its borders, claiming victims, displacing populations, destroying personal and public property and sowing terror in the north of the country”, he added. he declared.
Obiang believes that the CPLP “must not remain oblivious to this tragedy, which goes beyond the dimensions of a simple internal conflict. It is an assault ”.
He characterized it as an opportunity to identify the challenges facing the bloc and seek ways to facilitate trade between CPLP countries as well as attract more investment. “Our wish is that the business world takes advantage of this opportunity to come together to face the challenges that affect its activity. It must also make the most of its respective strengths to actively participate in the promotion of economic cooperation between the countries of the CPLP, always having as a priority the member countries of our community ”, declared the President of Equatorial Guinea.
The President of Cape Verde, Jorge Carlos Fonseca, who participated virtually in the summit, pleaded for the creation of customs facilities for the CPLP countries within the bloc. “There is an urgent need to create common solutions for the reciprocal protection of investments, reducing or even eliminating, as far as possible, double taxation and facilitating the circulation of public documents within our community without excessive burdens of authentication and notarization, ”he urged.
The President of Sao Tome and Principe, Evaristo Carvalho, spoke of the need for investments in CPLP countries to be sustainable, especially in Equatorial Guinea, which is experiencing a boom in mineral resources. “Our call is to look at the country with confidence, free from a culture of short-termism. Thinking about the country’s development, let’s look for sustainable solutions and invest in the medium and long term, he advised.
While various issues were discussed over the two days, there was particular interest in mining, oil and gas development within the bloc. The panel session devoted time to broadly analyze the various dimensions and aspects of the sector.
The Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea called for a joint project of Portuguese-speaking countries for gas exploration, stressing the need for a longer energy transition in certain African countries. “Hydrocarbon producing countries such as Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Mozambique or Brazil and Portugal, as a large consumer, it is very important that we can work on a coordinated project at the level of the CPLP to be able to harness the gas to be used in our economies. “said Gabriel Obiang Lima.
“It will be increasingly difficult to obtain financing to develop our [oil] products because there is great motivation all over the world to make the energy transition from hydrocarbons to renewable energies, ”he noted.
Despite this, he said, in countries like Equatorial Guinea and others in Africa, this transition will have to take at least another 20 years. “Only then will we be at the level of developed countries,” he said.
The Equatorial Guinean minister was speaking at a panel with government officials from Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde and Sao Tome and Principe, as well as representatives from Portugal, Brazil and Mozambique on the role governments to attract foreign investment.
Speaking at the roundtable, Luís Moreira Testa of the Portuguese Socialist Party in Parliament, explained that in the new advent of renewable energies, Portugal has the potential to move from being an energy consumer to that of a producer. “Hydrocarbons will be used as transitional fuels in the decades to come. Portugal is a large consumer of natural gas, mainly Algerian, and the new generation of natural gas consumption in Europe foresees the mandatory inclusion of green hydrogen, ”he said.
According to Luis Testa, the pipelines that bring gas from Algeria could soon take the gas produced in Equatorial Guinea or Mozambique cut with green hydrogen produced in Portugal. “This could be a great opportunity for energetic communion within the CPLP,” he said.
The Minister of Commerce, Industry and Energy of Cape Verde, Alexandre Dias Monteiro, considered mobility within the Portuguese-speaking community as an essential factor in creating a favorable environment for businesses and foreign investment. “Mobility is a critical factor for contacts and exchanges between companies and businessmen,” he said, highlighting the progress made in this area in recent years, which should make it possible to sign an agreement of mobility at the next summit of heads of state and government. , in July in Luanda.
Guinea-Bissau’s Minister of the Economy, Victor Mandinga, called for the creation of an investment promotion agency at the community level to liaise with the agencies in each of the countries. “This mechanism is essential to make investment legislation more homogeneous and the distribution of investment opportunities among countries more harmonized,” he said, adding that businessmen lacked cross-sectional information on the CPLP as a whole.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sao Tome, Edite Ten Jua, underlined the importance of creating a climate of confidence to attract investments, in particular in terms of legal protection and tax justice, as well as of simplifying administrative procedures, as well as the existence of infrastructure and means of transport and communications.
The President of the Confederation of Businesses of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries Salimo Abdula, speaking at the opening, urged the governments of member countries to accelerate the process of establishing the CPLP Community Development Bank in order to to facilitate the financing of block projects.
“The bank will be a tool that will support small, medium or large projects, thus overcoming the difficulty of access to finance, which often has a high cost in the CPLP countries, making the projects unfeasible”, explained Abdula. .
Abdula further proposed the creation of a CPLP arbitral tribunal, because, although combining the same language and the same economic interests, conflicts between stakeholders from different member states could arise.
“This tribunal would facilitate the settlement of disputes between business people in the community. At the moment, this project (the Court of Arbitration of the CPLP) is at a very advanced stage. A team has been formed which is working hard on the subject and has already produced several proposals for documents and prepared a questionnaire aimed at defining an ideal model for the construction of such an arbitration tribunal, ”Abdula told the assembly.
The opening of the summit coincided with World Portuguese Language Day. According to Rádio Moçambique, there are an estimated 300 million speakers spread over four continents. The first CPLP Business Confederation business summit under the slogan “Together we are stronger and move the world forward” in Simpopo, Equatorial Guinea.