Quarta-feira, 21 de Julho de 2010

Angola: A privileged access platform regarding Southern Africa?

By Paulo Gorjão

 

The Portuguese Foreign Minister Luís Amado emphasized a few weeks ago that, as far as the Portuguese diplomacy is concerned, Southern Africa is nowadays the most important region in the world. Following the same line of argument, the Portuguese President Aníbal Cavaco Silva told yesterday in Luanda that Angola could be an access platform for Portugal regarding Southern Africa.

Is this true?

Yes. Indeed, Angola might fulfill the role pointed out above, and the same is true regarding Mozambique, since both countries are Portuguese strategic partners within Southern Africa.

Is it a good strategy?

No. While recognizing the primacy of Angola (and Mozambique) within Portugal’s foreign policy towards Southern Africa, it would be an error to make our approach towards the region too dependent from each country. In fact, one should reinforce our presence in Southern Africa also – and above all? – using direct bilateral channels.

Nowadays, besides cultural and historical affinities, Angola sees Portugal as a reliable ally within the European Union. If Portugal were able to reinforce its influence within Southern Africa on its own, then it would be an important partner not only regarding its role within the European Union, but also bearing in mind its economic, political and diplomatic weight within Southern Africa.

Thus, it is true that, together with Mozambique, Angola could be an (additional) access platform for Portugal regarding Southern Africa, but one should avoid relying too much on it.

 

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