21 of December 2018

The Future begins when a decision is made. The Future may already be today ...

Looking at and thinking about the reality of a particular country can lead us to several conclusions based on the founding factors and economic, social and political variables found. It is desirable, where possible, that such conditions, in a realistic and pragmatic approach, should be seen as a challenge rather than a difficulty. In this context, looking at Guinea-Bissau is a constant challenge, which tests and reveals the capacity for response, commitment, strength and determination of each one. I am referring in particular to the risk and entrepreneurial spirit of the entrepreneur when approaching a new market which, perhaps due to different circumstances, may not be in the immediate horizon of his investment or internationalization objectives.


This introduction is about recent International Conference on Sustainable Energy in Guinea-Bissau, in Bissau, in December 2018, where I was honored to participate as Ambassador of Portugal and proved to be an example to look at a country from the perspective of a specific sector, to identify difficulties or obstacles and to see and detect investment challenges and potentialities in a strategic and modern vision, based on innovation and knowledge, at the service of development and social welfare, wealth creation and training and job creation.


However, there is a plurality and diversity of levels of development in the different regions of the Globe. The existence of "lines" or "frontiers" separating Regions / Countries or Continents where human and socio-economic development indices are at a higher level as opposed to more or more unfavorable situations dominated by weaknesses and weaknesses Endemic and Structural In terms of the sources of renewable energy in which we stand and which concentrates our attention, these "lines" are not imaginary; are, on the contrary, very tangible and easily observed. For example, the number of hours of sunshine on an annual basis or the climatic conditions that favor and advise the use of wind energy are immediate ways of perceiving the potential of using natural conditions, preferably on the basis of strategic partnerships between private agents and institutions and local governments.


Guinea-Bissau is not only in the range of countries with the highest number of hours of sunshine, but also in a privileged geographical position, with a decisive strategic asset constituted by its opening to the Atlantic. It has riches and very expressive natural resources and, of course, it is open to quality tourism. However, it still has low levels of development. To think of the country without an energy strategy would be to severely and dramatically limit the potential of its development, but also, and from Portugal's perspective, to lose business and investment opportunities for Portuguese companies and groups.


In this context, Portugal exhibits capacity, experience, know-how and levels of internationalization that places it in a privileged position to implant and seek a dominant position in the renewable energy market in RGB. If we do not do it, others will take our place.


It seems to me, as the Ambassador in Guinea-Bissau, that we must face and "equate" the renewable energy sector market with realism and pragmatism, guaranteeing access to safe, backed and coordinated financing with international institutions and in partnership and consonance with the Guinean public entities that supervise it. To think, of course, also in the return on investment made and access to sub regional markets.

The International Conference "Sustainable Energy in Guinea-Bissau", under the inspiration and decisive contribution of ALER, brought the country a new perspective and was a welcome breath of fresh air in the discussion and reflection on policies to be adopted in the field of renewable energies in RGB. And because projects do not exist without funding, in this field Guinea-Bissau will also have unique conditions, with the possibility of earning around USD 700 million from sources and international organizations.


Because the future happens when we make decisions, we will not miss the opportunity to create the conditions for a better future in Guinea-Bissau. I hope that the necessary motivations and incentives will be created so that these decisions are, in a proper way and now, taken and assumed by the Portuguese companies.


António Alves de Carvalho,

Ambassador of Portugal to Guinea-Bissau