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President of Mota Engil says that free trade agreement in Africa is fundamental

The president of Mota-Engil Africa, Manuel Mota, said this Thursday that the free trade agreement in Africa is fundamental for the development of the continent, since it fosters regional integration, fundamental for economic development.


"The free trade agreement in Africa is fundamental to developing economies, because the easiest way to grow is to grow together, just as it was done in Europe, with the European Union, and in Africa they are trying to do the same" , said the leader of the Portuguese construction company during the Portugal-Africa business seminar "Exporting 'Green' - Internationalization of companies in the era of sustainability", organized by the Portuguese presidency of the European Union, which takes place in virtual format from Lisbon.

"Most of the great infrastructures under construction serve to connect countries, the major projects in progress focus on the development of the country, but also on creating conditions for trade between countries", pointed out Manuel Mota, exemplifying with some of his works in Nigeria and Niger.

"We have to look at the continent thinking about integration and trade between countries, which were developed during the colonial era to export independently of the neighbor, which created a legacy of little regional integration", stressed the businessman.

In Africa, he defended, "there is everything to do, it is a continent of opportunities, of the future, but also of the present".

Asked whether the pandemic made it difficult or maintained financing difficulties for projects on the continent, perceived as more risky, Manuel Mota said that "it has become more difficult with the pandemic" and argued that "it is necessary to be pragmatic with financing".

European economies, he argued, benefited from large public aid during last year's recession, which did not happen on the African continent: "Many of the Small and Medium Enterprises have disappeared, European governments have made an enormous effort to sustain economies and this is not possible in Africa ", a continent affected not only by the slowdown in economic activity, but also by the high level of public debt, which makes financing more expensive.

"There was a huge financial impact, but the pandemic also served to open people's eyes to the fact that funding is needed to support these countries and their development," concluded the builder.

The agreement for the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area was signed by 54 African countries (out of a total of 55), including all African Portuguese Speaking Countries (PALOP) and ratified by 31 countries, such as South Africa, Angola , Equatorial Guinea, São Tomé and Príncipe and Nigeria, among others, and went live on January 1st this year.

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