Portuguese companies have better conditions to recover infrastructures

Eurico Brilhante Dias

The Secretary of State for Internationalization, Eurico Brilhante Dias, considered that Portuguese companies will be in the best position to help recover many of the infrastructure destroyed in Mozambique by Cyclone Idai.

"I am sure that Portuguese companies will be in the best position to help many of these infrastructures, which have been destroyed and are not capable, can work again," he said, noting that he did not want to talk about opportunities in such a difficult context.

"It is with great sadness and great concern that we see the situation" that is happening in Mozambique, Eurico Brilhante Dias said, considering that despite the difficult moment that the country is going through, it remains an "important market" for Portugal, "due to the number of companies present".

Asked if the problems in Mozambique could be a limitation for Portuguese companies, Brilhante Dias responds: "Let's see how this situation will be financed."

"Portugal has already made available financial resources, beyond solidarity, and the European Union as well. Let us see how the World Bank itself and the African Development Bank follow this circumstance, "he said, noting that there is a bilateral Cooperation Strategic Program and the Lusophone compact.

After what happened in Mozambique, with the cyclone Idai, Brilhante Dias said that there is now the perception that one must invest and recover, at least Beira, the most affected city, and certainly all kind of infrastructures, road, rail, electricity, sanitation, which have to be restored.

All this implies "a major funding effort, which needs several partners. Portugal will surely participate to the extent of its possibilities, but it needs the involvement of other participants, "he defended.

Despite admitting that in recent years there had already been a reduction of Portuguese direct investment in that country, Brilhante Dias considered that, even in these circumstances, such markets are always important for Portuguese companies.

The official recalled that when he visited Mozambique in August 2018, there was the perception that year had already been better than 2017, and that this year had already been "a little better than 2016".

At that time, "Portuguese companies, despite all the difficulties, had a message of hope and there was the idea in Mozambican society that large investments in gas, in Rovuma, would soon bring important financial flows that would allow for other easing and other investment conditions", he recalled.

Now, he admitted, that perspective "suffered a serious blow."

"But it is not the first time that Mozambique goes through a difficult humanitarian situation. And we are here to help", he concluded.

Mozambique expects that the cyclone Idai causes this year a decrease of the forecast for the economic growth by two percentage points, which was 3.8 percent, told to Lusa on Thursday, the country's Finance minister, Adriano Maleiane.

"With this cyclone, we think GDP in Mozambique can fall to a range of 1.1% to 2.8%, so [the impact of Idai] is very strong," said Adriano Maleiane in Washington, at the World Bank headquarters, at the end of a round-table discussion about the cyclone Idai, which featured representatives from 30 countries.

The minister added that the Mozambican government expects a rise in the inflation rate - which at the end of 2018 stood at 3.8% - by one digit, due to the needs created by the cyclone.

Cyclone Idai, which has caused 602 deaths and 1,641 injured, destroyed around 800,000 hectares of agricultural fields, with agriculture accounting for 23% of the country's GDP.

These damages are also compounded by the deterioration of circulation, transportation and communication systems, he added.

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