Portugal will move to a fourth phase of cooperation “cluster” in Mozambique Island, a set of broad projects, from education and social support to tourism, to support the development of the historic community, according to an official source.
“Our goal is to move to the fourth phase of this cooperation ‘cluster’,” working “together with the Mozambican authorities,” the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Francisco André, told Lusa.
It is the island where the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama arrived 525 years ago on his way to India and where the first capital of the country was born.
Located in the province of Nampula, it is connected to the mainland by a three-kilometer bridge.
Declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1991, the island has a rich architectural heritage (but in need of renovation) on one half of the island and precarious neighborhoods on the other, reflecting the poverty of most of its inhabitants.
“This ‘cluster’ has contributed to the renewal of the heritage and, above all, to the economic and social development of the population”, representing “a distinctive mark”, a type of integrated intervention that Portuguese cooperation has “nowhere else in the world”, stressed Francisco André.
An example of reference in Portugal’s dialogue with other countries, which the local authorities consider “a success,” he added.
Now in the last year of the third phase, an evaluation is underway for both countries to plan the next phase, which will never be less than four years, “because these projects need time to demonstrate their results”.
“Our goal is that by the end of the year, and also within the framework of our Strategic Cooperation Program, we can enter a new phase to verify if we can maintain or add sectors of activity and if we can increase the financial volume,” detailed Francisco André.
The “Mozambique Island Cluster” was launched in 2011 by Portuguese cooperation with the Mozambican authorities and has already been funded with a total of seven million euros, 73% of which has been disbursed by Camões, Institute for Cooperation and Language.
The third phase (2019-2023) represents about half of the total funding and supports six different components, with a strong focus on education and training.
Support for pre-school education will receive the largest share, followed by the strengthening of education and training at the Mozambique Island Polytechnic Medium Institute (IMPIM).
At this institution, a “kitchen laboratory” is in the final stages of installation, as part of a strategy to invest in equipment and materials in the hospitality and tourism sectors.
Another structural component of Portuguese cooperation on the island is institutional and developmental support to the municipality, with projects to promote tourism, develop urban planning and solve problems of poor sanitation.
The “cluster” also benefits the Mozambique Island Conservation Office (GACIM) and also a package of social, entrepreneurial and civil society capacity-building actions — which include the promotion of literacy, traditional arts and crafts.
The next phase will result “from a well-articulated dialogue between Mozambique and Portugal,” stressed the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
“Mozambique indicates what the objectives are and, as a result of this dialogue, we define the objectives and the implementation mechanisms to achieve them,” he concluded.