General information on development cooperation

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) is responsible for setting Portugal’s development cooperation policies. Development cooperation is an important area of Portugal’s external policy. With the objective of eradicating poverty and promoting inclusive and sustainable development in partner countries, it is based on values and principles such as peace and solidarity, democracy and the rule of law, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, environmental protection, among others.

Portugal is strongly committed to eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable development, a commitment shared by all sectors of society and political affiliations. Because of historical linkages, the relationships with the main partner countries (Portuguese-Speaking African Countries and Timor-Leste) are long-term relations, based on similar legal and administrative systems, as well as in a common language, friendship, and solidarity, currently evolving towards strategic partnerships with mutual benefits.

The Strategic Concept for Portuguese Development Cooperation 2014-2020, adopted by the Council of Ministers in February 2014, is the guidance policy document that defines the main guidelines that will frame Portuguese cooperation in the coming years. The Strategic Concept is based on a broad national consensus between major political forces and civil society, and builds on the main lines of Portuguese Development cooperation, recognizing that challenges are increasingly global and interdependent, that new global actors have emerged and that cooperation is a key component of external policy and must be instrumental to national interests as well as to the development paths defined by partner countries. Aiming at promoting a more efficient implementation of development cooperation activities, the Strategic Concept is based on four fundamental principles: (i) coherence and coordination; (ii) geographic and sectoral concentration; (iii( ownership; and (iv) partnership.

Moreover, framed by international commitments on policy coherence for development, recognizing the need for greater coherence between policies that directly or indirectly affect Developing Countries, Portugal, through the adoption of a Resolution by the Council of Ministers, has strengthened inter-ministerial dialogue and coordination.

As a result of public administration reforms aimed at increasing its efficiency and effectiveness, the former Portuguese Institute for Development Assistance (IPAD) and Camoes Institute (ICA) for Language and Culture were merged, and a new institute, Camoes - the Cooperation and Language Institute (CICL) was created in 2012. CICL is part of the Foreign Ministry and is responsible for the supervision, direction, and coordination of development cooperation policy and activities. It is also responsible for implementing the development cooperation policy and promoting the Portuguese language and culture abroad. The Portuguese Cooperation System involves multiple actors, including line ministries, municipal authorities, universities and other public institutions.


Aid for Trade Strategy

Portugal’s AfT activities are part of its overall development cooperation strategy and are in line with the EU 2007 Aid for Trade Strategy. In line with its overall development cooperation priorities, Portugal’s AfT activities focus mostly on economic infrastructure, productive capacity, as well as institutional and business-related capacity building. Regarding geographic focus, Portuguese development cooperation, including AfT activities, targets mostly Africa Portuguese Speaking Countries (i.e. Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe) and East Timor.

Portugal, as an EU member state, is taking part in the revision of the EU’s Aid for Trade Strategy and has been proposing more links between trade and development policies, and an increased focus on Africa and the Least Developed Countries.

In 2015, Portuguese gross disbursements to the AfT sectors rose to 21.448.362€; allocated to the following areas: Energy (13.325.586€); Transport and storage (4.047.943€); Agriculture (1.490.862€); Banking and Financial services (979.390€), only to mention the key areas of our intervention.

Although Portugal’s development cooperation interventions are mostly bilateral, it also supports AfT via multilateral organizations. In 2015, Portuguese gross multilateral disbursement ascended to 146.075.112€, to International Organizations such as the World Bank Group (1.610.000€) Regional Development Banks (2.339.037€), and WTO (819.740€). Also, Portugal, as an EU Member State, contributes to the European Development Fund (36.480.300€), and to the European Investment Bank (2.619.700€)

In line with its overall poverty reduction objectives, Portugal’s development cooperation interventions in the area of private sector development are focused on supporting SMEs and improving the business environment of partner countries.

Disclaimer: Information provided below on Portugal’s support to AfT under these categories is not exhaustive.


Principal official agency responsible for TCB assistance to developing countries

Camões – Institute for Cooperation and Language (CICL):
Contact details

Tel: +351 21 310 9100

Fax: +351 21 310 9183 (DPC / DAM)

E-mail: geral [at] camoes.mne.pt

Physical Address
Av. da Liberdade, nº 270 / Rua Rodrigues Sampaio,
nº 113. 1250-149 Lisbon-Portugal

CICL is responsible for: (i) proposing and implementing the Portuguese development cooperation policy and coordinating all development cooperation activities undertaken by other official entities, which also participate in the implementation of development cooperation projects/programs; and (ii) proposing and implementing the policy on education and dissemination of Portuguese language and culture abroad.

Other government and official agencies with responsibilities directly relevant to TCB

AICEP Portugal Global - Trade & Investment Agency
Contact details

Tel.: + 351 217 909 500

E-mail: aicep [at] portugalglobal.pt

Physical Address
Av. 5 de Outubro, 101 1050-051 Lisbon, Portugal

AICEP Portugal Global is a government entity focused on supporting the development of a competitive business environment that contributes to the globalization of the Portuguese economy. It plays a central role in the implementation of public policies geared to promote the internationalization of Portuguese companies and the image of Portugal abroad. AICEP has a network of 40 overseas offices. With the diversification of export markets as a key goal, the Agency actively promotes and provides support for the involvement of national SME’s in emerging markets, enabling them to bring new products or services or to invest in the generation of local added value, therefore complementing the cooperation policy.

Ministry of Economy / Directorate General for Economic Activity (DGAE)
Contact details

Tel: + 351 21 796 5158

E-mail dgae [at] dgae.min-economia.pt

Physical Address
Av. Visconde de Valbom, 72
1069-041 Lisboa

DGAE’s mission is the promotion and development of an institutional environment more conducive to competitiveness, business innovation and regional development through support for the conception, implementation, dissemination and evaluation of policies for industrial, trade, tourism and services, ensuring coordination of international relations in the sphere of activity of the Ministry of Economy. DGAE contributes to the formulation and implementation of policies that frame the external economic relations, in coordination with the agencies and departments of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant agencies and public authorities.

Office for Strategic Planning, Evaluation and International Relations (GPEARI)
Contact details

Tel: + 351 21 882 3390/91/96

E-mail: gpeari [at] gpeari.min-financas.pt

Physical Address
Av. Infante D. Henrique, nº 1C – 1º 1100-278 Lisboa

GPEARI’s mission is to ensure support for policy formulation and strategic and operational planning, in conjunction with the financial programming, ensure, directly or under its coordination, international relations, monitor and evaluate the implementation of policies, planning tools and results of the organizational systems and management in conjunction with other services of the Ministry of Finance.

Portuguese Development Finance Institution (SOFID)
Contact details

Tel.: +351 21 313 77 60

Fax: +351 21 313 77 79

E-mail: sofid [at] sofid.pt

Physical Address
Av. Casal Ribeiro, n. 14 - 4 1000-092 Lisboa Portugal

SOFID was created in December 2007. It aims to contribute to the economic growth of developing countries and emerging economies, in coordination with the objectives and strategy of the Portuguese state in matters of economy, cooperation and public development assistance. Through the provision of financial services and products SOFID aims at : (i) to contribute to sustainable development of the business sector in developing countries; and (ii) to support Portuguese companies and their partners investing in developing countries, acting in coordination with the Government’s economy, cooperation and ODA strategies.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Contact details

Tel: +351 21394 6000

E-mail: gsenec [at] mne.gov.pt

Physical Address
Palácio das Necessidades
Largo do Rilvas, P-1399-030 Lisboa Codex

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has the mandate to formulate, coordinate and implement portuguese foreign policy, conduct and coordinate interventions in international organizations and define and implement the development cooperation policy, among others.

Other offical and NON-governmental organizations involved

Centro de Intervenção para o Desenvolvimento Amilcar Cabral (CIDAC)
Contact details

E-mail: cidac [at] cidac.pt

Physical Address
Núcleo de Cooperação para o Desenvolvimento
Rua Tomás Ribeiro, 3-9
1069-069, Lisboa Portugal

CIDAC engages primarily in four priority areas: Trade and Development, Migration and Development, Development Cooperation and Development Education. The strengthening of civil society organizations is a cross-cutting objective

Instituto Marquês de Valle Flor (IMVF)
Contact details

Tel: + 351 213 256 300

Fax: + 351 213 471 904

E-mail: info [at] imvf.org

Physical Address
Rua de São Nicolau, 105 1100-548 Lisboa

IMVF is a Non-Governmental Organization for Development (NGO). Most of its intervention is focused on Portuguese-speaking countries and with the objective of promoting cultural and socio-economic development.

Selected TCB programmes and initiatives in this guide

Cooperation between Monetary Institutions
Support to partner countries’ legal frameworks
Projects in 2015
Projects and Gross Disbursements in 2015
Strengthening the institutional and technical capacity of monetary institutions
Gender mainstreaming
Employment and Youth
TCB cooperation initiatives with UN/international agencies and bilateral partners

Portugal provides support to AfT via multilateral organizations, international financial institutions, and the EU. Part of the support provided to these institutions is used for TCB. Meanwhile, Portugal directs credit lines to electrical infrastructures in São Tomé and Príncipe.