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Capital Markets

Portugal: Opportunities abroad, challenges at home

José Maria Ricciardi, president and chief executive of Banco Espírito Santo Investimento, talks about the importance of Portugal’s links to developing markets and the challenges faced by the country’s banks in the present crisis.

How do Portugal’s ties to its former colonies make it different from Greece?

We have a strong connection to the south Atlantic, to sub-Saharan Africa – namely Angola – and to South America – namely Brazil. These are becoming very important markets.

What other countries are Portuguese companies active in?

We have special relations with Morocco, with Libya, with Algeria, with Tunisia. In the south, the most important country is South Africa, the second most important is Angola and it’s becoming more important.

We have a special relationship with Angola, all our companies are there and Espírito Santo has an important bank in Angola. We’re also working with other countries in the region, such as Namibia, Congo Brazzaville and Botswana. It’s a region, because of our very old and special relations, where Portuguese companies are developing a lot in mining, oil and banking.

In South America, Brazil is the leader of the region and becoming one of the most important countries in the world. Espírito Santo is there. EDP, our power company, is there, Galp, our oil company, is there.

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