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Foreign Affairs minister José Pacheco greets Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa in Maputo. Photo: TVI
The third ever Portuguese-Mozambican summit is taking place on Thursday in Maputo, where Portugal’s prime minister, António Costa, is on an official trip; after the meeting he is to meet local business leaders and the Portuguese community, before returning to Lisbon on Saturday.
The previous two summits took place in November of 2011, in Lisbon, and in March of 2014, in Maputo. This meeting will be the first attended by Costa and Mozambique’s president, Filipe Nyusi.
Costa is being accompanied on his trip by three ministers – of foreign affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, of internal administration, Eduardo Cabrita, and of the sea, Ana Paula Vitorino – as well as by the secretaries of state of national defence, Marcos Perestrello, and of social security, Cláudia Joaquim.
After arriving in Maputo in the morning, Costa is to lay a wreath at the monument to Mozambique’s war dead in the Praça dos Heróis, where the national anthems of the two countries will be played, before going on to lay another on the monument commemorating Portuguese soldiers who died in World War One at the cemetery of Lhanguene.
The delegation is then to continue on to the presidential palace, where Costa will be received by Nyusi, for a one-to-one.
After that there is the plenary meeting of the third bilateral summit, chaired jointly by the two men, which is expected to take 45 minutes and end with the signing of agreements in fields such as internal administration, air transport and social security, and statements to the media by António and Nyusi, as well as by the ministers for foreign affairs, Santos Silva and, for Mozambique, José Pacheco.
In the afternoon Costa is to visit the port of Maputo, where Mota Engil and other Portuguese companies are working to upgrade the facility, before meeting with Portuguese businesses. In the evening there is an official banquet hosted by Nyusi in honour of Costa at the presidential palace.
Portugal’s declared aim for the summit and Costa’s visit is to “strengthen the historic relations” between the countries and use the opportunity “to foster economic exchanges and investment.”
A diplomatic sources stressed to Lusa that the trip is also “a sign of the way the current government values Portuguese-language countries”, building on several trips by Costa to Cabo Verde – Costa’s first official trip as prime minister – in the run up to the summit of the Community of Portuguese-Language Countries (CPLP) in that country, which is also to be attended by Portugal’s president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
Costa’s office is also currently finalising details of official trips to Angola and to Sao Tome and Principe.
On the Mozambican side, expectations for the summit and Costa’s visit are similar.
Officials hoped “of course for the strengthening and tightening of the existing historic ties, ties of friendship, but also the strengthening and relaunching of partnerships in the economic domain and others,” said the spokeswoman for Mozambique’s cabinet, Ana Comoana.
According to figures provided to Lusa by Portugal’s Agency for Foreign Investment and Trade (AICEP), Portugal’s exports to Mozambique have been falling since 2015, and in the first four months of 2018 were down another 6.4% on a year earlier. Portugal’s imports from Mozambique, while much smaller in volume than exports, were up 54.7% on the year.