The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Portugal to South Africa, His Excellency Manuel Carvalho paid a courtesy call to the SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax at the SADC Secretariat Head Office in Gaborone, Botswana on 18th April 209.
The two parties exchanged views on how to deepen bilateral cooperation and enhance opportunities for partnerships. Portugal has forged strong bilateral ties with a number of SADC Member States in Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe and its regional policy towards SADC is largely determined in the European Union through bilateral trade arrangements with a number of SADC Member States through the Free Trade Agreement (FTA). In addition, the Government of Portugal and the SADC Secretariat have a standing Protocol of Cooperation which was signed in March 2008 through the Instituto Camões which facilitated the promotion of the Portuguese language.
Dr Tax thanked the Government of Portugal for the strong and mutual cooperation, commitment and support to the SADC Region. She underscored the importance of the cooperation between the SADC Secretariat and Portugal which is largely through promotion of the Portuguese language which is one of the official languages of SADC.
Furthermore, Dr Tax mentioned that the SADC region was on course to achieve its goal for regional integration amongst its Member States. She pointed out that this was possible through implementation of therevised RISDP 2015-2020 which among others, identifies Industrial Development and Market Integration as a key priority for regional integration and places industrialization at the centre-stage of the SADC integration agenda. She said that one of the priorities was Peace and Security as defined in the revised Strategic Indicative Plan of the Organ (SIPO II), which seeks to strengthen the peace and security architecture in the region.
Ambassador Carvalho thanked Dr Tax for the warm welcome and the existing cordial relationship between the two institutions. The Ambassador stated that his government was eager to develop meaningful relations with Africa, especially the SADC region. He further stated that Africa was a priority for his Government and it was imperative to foster strong cooperation, and devise new ways of enhancing cooperation for development. The Ambassador expressed his solidarity to the SADC region whose three of its Member States have been affected by the devastating impacts of Tropical Cyclone IDAI and mentioned that his Government was mobilising humanitarian assistance to the Republic of Mozambique as a way of providing emergency relief and support to those affected. He stated that as Portuguese was one of the working languages for SADC and that through the Support from the Instituto Camões, his Government was willing to setup and launch a Centre of Portuguese language.
The two parties agreed to hold further dialogues to engage more possible areas of cooperation and workout the modalities on facilitating lessons for the Portuguese languages as well translation and interpretation.
The Ambassador was accompanied by the President of the Camões – Institute for Cooperation and the Portuguese Language, H.E Ambassador Luis Faro Ramos, and the Head of the Educational Department at the Embassy of Portugal in South Africa, Mr. Carlos Gomes Da Silva.