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It is “desirable and necessary” for the private sector to participate in the cooperation policy.

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“Private sector engagement is very positive,” the Secretary of State says.


“Private sector engagement is very positive,” the Secretary of State says.


The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs considers it “desirable and necessary” for the participation of the private sector in the cooperation strategy, which Portugal must implement before 2030, under the threat of “impossibility” to achieve the programmed goals.

“Private sector participation in development cooperation is desirable and necessary. The results that are needed in the countries we work with will never be possible only with public resources coming from the state budget,” said Francisco Andre in an interview with Lusa.

The Portuguese Cooperation Strategy 2030, the guiding instrument of Portugal’s public policy in this area, will be presented this Thursday in Lisbon, replacing the Portuguese Strategic Cooperation Concept 2014-2020.

“Private sector involvement is very positive. This will increase the efficiency of the country as a whole and civil society organizations in particular,” the minister defended.

“The private sector exists, is accessible, and has shown this accessibility recently. What is important now is that civil society, universities, government and the private sector can work together to achieve the same simple goal: to eradicate poverty, promote increasingly sustainable development in partner countries,” he stressed.

The document provides for the creation and training of structures, as well as the reform of mechanisms to support private investment, which will be introduced into cooperation policies, for example, in order to access multilateral sources of funding.

Domestically, this role is entrusted to SOFID SA – Sociedade para o Financiamento do Desenvolvimento, Instituição Financeira de Crédito, an institution under the Ministry of Economy.

To this end, the official stressed, “SOFID must modernize and attract more international funding from the very beginning”, and “it must very clearly define its goals, not only support investment projects that intersect with the goals of cooperation and sustainable development”, but also should “create conditions for more and more investments, even private ones, regardless of their size”, attracted to cooperation.

Francisco André, however, insisted on emphasizing that “support for the private sector by the public sector translates into creating conditions for it to invest more and more” in the partner countries of the Portuguese cooperation.

“It is up to us, politically, diplomatically and also in development cooperation, to have the necessary tools and means to improve and ensure the visibility of the presence of Portuguese economic agents in our partner countries and thus allow them to invest more, which good for the Portuguese economy and also for the development of our partner countries,” he said.

Portugal’s Cooperation Strategy 2030 confirms Portugal’s commitment to comply with the agreement signed with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to allocate 0.7% of its gross national income (GNI) annually to public development assistance (ODA), although and in the “calendar” way. According to the latest data for 2021, Portuguese ODA is still far from that target, at 0.18% of GNI, just over 38 million euros.

“This strategy aims to continue fulfilling this commitment by 2030,” the Secretary of State confirmed. However, he added, “in the past few years, this has been done to ensure the stability of the growth in the level of ODA, that is, make sure there is no withdrawal“.

During 2021, “Portugal has increased its ODA by 4%, I am confident that when the 2022 reports are calculated, we will continue to maintain this upward trajectory,” he said.

“In 2023, we have two important innovations, on the one hand, unprecedented financial support in the budget [do Estado] for 2023 (OE2023) for development cooperation actions, programs and projects that will have an immediate automatic impact on increased official development assistance.”

Another novelty, also guaranteed in OE2023, is an “essential tool” – in the words of the official – that will allow “know in advance how much each sector costs [governamental] will invest in cooperation throughout the budget year“.

The framework document provides that by January 31, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will have information on all cooperation projects that will be developed by other ministries, and by the end of the first half of the year, the Secretary of State expects to prepare an operational plan of the Strategy for public discussion, “to be discussed with participants in the field of cooperation, and then present themselves publicly.

The Camões Institute has doubled the funds allocated to cooperation projects to around 40 million euros in OE2023, it will see “its role in intersectoral coordination”, as well as means, “especially human,” the official assured, emphasizing: “I’m not talking about increasing the number of human resources, I’m talking about training human resources.”

This training is fundamental, for example, to ensure that all Portuguese actors involved in cooperation respond positively over the next 20 years to the opportunities created by a financial package of around 100 billion euros that Portugal presides over the European Union. is proud to have approved the Good Neighborhood, Development Cooperation and International Cooperation Instrument (IVDCI – Global Europe) in the first half of 2021.

“It would be a little incomprehensible how much work Portugal has done during months of negotiations to get approval for a financial package of this size and not use it now. [dele]in a positive way, first of all, to work with our partner countries, PALOP and Timor-Leste, and to allow these countries to take advantage, thanks to the participation of the Portuguese society, of the financial and operational opportunities that this tool contains,” concluded Francisco. André.

Source: Observador

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