Despite a high level of insecurity in the northern region of Mozambique, Portuguese businesses have remained determined.
Earlier this week, Francisco André, the Portuguese Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, visited this troubled region to express his solidarity with the Mozambicans.
“On behalf of the members of the Portuguese community with whom I had the opportunity to meet, I felt the very strong links that exist with Mozambique and with this region and an iron will to face the difficulties” , said Francisco André in an interview with the local Cabo Delgado. hurry.
According to this diplomat, despite the challenges and instability caused by armed violence in Cabo Delgado, the Portuguese community and businesses in this province have the same expectations, although it is “perfectly normal to conclude that the situation of insecurity causes difficulties for the economy. activity”.
“Despite these difficulties, they want to continue working to stay here and forge a path with the Mozambicans, with whom they live on a daily basis, to help the region’s economic recovery,” said Francisco André.
The Portuguese official also reiterated the importance of the “historic links” that exist between Maputo and Lisbon, adding that the presence of Portugal at a time when Mozambique needs it, with armed violence in Cabo Delgado, is a sign of friendship and good cooperation.
“Mozambique is the largest recipient of official development assistance from Portugal, which fills us with satisfaction and shows the level of our relationship,” said Francisco André, adding that in addition to supporting the African country in the face of armed violence in Cabo Delgado, the availability of a batch of 50,000 vaccines for the Mozambican people symbolizes the good relations between the two states.
“Mozambique can count on Portugal, as always,” he stressed.
During his first day of visit to Mozambique, Francisco André accompanied, in Pemba, the arrival of the first of the three planes which will guarantee the humanitarian airlift of the European Union to support the populations affected by armed violence in Cabo Delgado, an initiative coordinated by Portugal and Italy.
The EU’s humanitarian airlift to Pemba, in northern Mozambique, will carry around 15 tonnes of “rescue equipment” and is intended to “respond to urgent humanitarian needs”.
Goods and equipment come from specific contributions from Italy, organizations such as Sant’Egidio, Oikos, Cuamm and, from Portugal, the General Support Unit for Army Materiel, CVP, Caritas and Tese.
The second shuttle flight is expected last Sunday in Pemba, while the third arrived on the 9th.
The establishment of humanitarian airlifts by the European Union was a practice used repeatedly by the bloc during the pandemic: according to Commission statistics, in 2020 67 flights were operated to 20 countries thanks to this mechanism, which enabled the supply of “more than 1,150 tonnes of humanitarian and vital medical supplies”.
Cabo Delgado, a province that hosted the largest private investment in Africa for natural gas exploration led by Total (in the order of 20 billion euros), has been plagued by armed attacks since 2017, some of which are claimed by the rebel group Islamic State. .
The project is on hold due to insecurity in the region.
The wave of violence has already killed more than 2,800 people according to the ACLED conflict registration project and 732,000 displaced people according to the United Nations (UN).
The Portuguese Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation paid a working visit to Mozambique until the 7th and, in addition to his visit to Cabo Delgado, he had meetings with members of the government to prepare the next bilateral summit, as well as negotiations for the next Strategic Cooperation Program 2022-2026.