Co-operation is an essential aspect of Portugal’s foreign policy. It aims to promote the economic, social and cultural development of its partner countries, namely the priority nations of PALOP (the Portuguese-speaking African countries) and East Timor, whilst at the same time improving the living conditions of their populations.

Portuguese Co-operation

The policy of co-operation development is a key aspect of Portuguese foreign policy and one that is based on a national consensus between society and the main political forces, having as its objective the eradication of poverty and sustainable development in partner countries in terms of respect for people’s human rights, democracy and the rule of law.


Comprising one of the main pillars of foreign policy, the main aim of co-operation development is the eradication of extreme poverty and for the sustainable development of partner countries, to be regarded as an investment and not as an expense and as a means of development and not of assistance. It is based on a model of decentralised management and is operated under the terms of the Strategic Concept for Portuguese Co-operation.

Programmes and projects

Camões, I.P. promotes, finances, co-finances and operates dozens of programmes and projects in a variety of areas in different partner countries, particularly in Portuguese-speaking African countries (PALOP) and East Timor. Such interventions are the result of the advantages and benefits of Portuguese co-operation in response to the strategies outlined by partner countries.

According to the best international practices, identifying projects and their components ensures full support for relevant projects consistent with the policies of the partner country and the problems that need to be solved in order to make the proposed intervention viable, yield benefits and be managed effectively.

The implementation of projects is done systematically in order to effectively solve any identified problems and achieve the expected results, thus ensuring that each intervention is fully appropriated and sustainable.

In light of that, many integrated development programmes have been implemented in places like Cabo Delgado in Mozambique and Maubara in East Timor, for instance. A good example are the projects that have been supported in the areas of education which involved a total restructuring of the system, the creation of new curricula and textbooks and the training of teachers, managers and other professionals working in the industry. Health is another project area, incorporating the provision of care, sexual and reproductive health, health research and the use of technology like telemedicine. The environment and combating climate change have also been the focus of development programmes. Interventions conductive to reinforcing governance and the rule of law have also been introduced and directed at strengthening institutional functions, modernising legal and institutional frameworks and training professionals in the areas of internal security, justice and auditing institutions.