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The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, Mr. Donald Kaberuka, has said to be very encouraged with the general commitment to increase economic cooperation between Portugal and the AfDB in different parts of Africa.
Mr. Kaberuka spoke at the end of a two-day (12-13 September) official visit to Portugal, one year before the 25th anniversary of the partnership between AfDB and the Lusophone country, one of the 24 non-regional members of the Bank Group.
After discussions with government officials (including the president of the Republic Aníbal Cavaco Silva and ministers), businessmen, the banking sector and the private sector, Portuguese authorities expressed a pressing need to understand the Bank’s activities and performance in order to strengthen public/private initiatives in the fields of infrastructure, finance and governance in Africa. The visit also enabled President Kaberuka to assess the potential for partnership in Portuguese-speaking African countries (PALOP).
In a bid to maintain the momentum generated in 2005, and taking advantage of the improving business climate in Africa, the president discussed many issues, such as AfDB operations in the PALOP and the strengthening of partnerships between the institution and Portugal.
The representation of Portuguese speaking countries at the Bank and the importance of Portuguese language as a working tool in the institution were also discussed. In this regard, President Kaberuka said: "Although Portuguese language is not official in the Bank, it is still important for us. That’s why we are running a course for staff to learn Portuguese and we are trying our best to increase the number of Portuguese-speaking staff".
Referring to Portugal as a key shareholder that believes Africa is changing and is attentive to the many opportunities created by the improving conditions in the continent, the president discussed potential opportunities at the AfDB and better ways to enhance the continent’s economic growth.
Mr. Kaberuka was also informed that security and development issues in Africa will be an important theme of the Portuguese Presidency of the EU (2nd Semester 2007), in line with the country’s interest in supporting ‘fragile states’ and thanked the Portuguese government for its support to Africa.
Portuguese-speaking African countries (PALOP) include Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe. Their objective is to promote economic and social development in areas in which the five countries have mutual interest with a view to strengthening regional integration.
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