NEGÓCIOS IN LISBON

Lisbon remains the global center for doing business in Portuguese-speaking nations.

São Tomé and Príncipe's flag bearer Lecabela Quaresma holds the national flag as he leads the contingent in the athletes parade during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games in 2012. Portugal's Lisbon has direct flights to all of the major Lusophone cities in Africa and South America. REUTERS/Mike Blake


With Portugal's economic performance above the Eurozone average, things are looking up for the Iberian nation.

Its tourism sector has been an incredible success with a record-breaking year in 2017. Over 12.5 million people visited over the course of the year.

Elsewhere, unemployment fell below 8% in December 2017, the lowest figure in more than 13 years.

With the arrival of the annual Web Summit conference (previously held in Dublin), the city's tech and start-up landscape has flourished, creating an investor-friendly environment through initiatives such as Portugal's Startup Visa.

Lisbon has also positioned itself as a center for doing business in Portuguese-speaking or “Lusophone" countries.

In the latest Doing Business report by the World Bank, Portugal is ranked in 29th position overall, well above other Southern Europe economies such as Italy (at 46th) or Greece (67th), and even ahead of well-established France (31st).

Most importantly, Portugal outperforms the rest of the world when it comes to trading across borders, where it is in pole position.

This category assesses costs and time related to import-export activity.

Lisbon offers the widest direct flight connectivity with Portuguese-speaking countries out of any nation, and the country's flagship carrier TAP Air Portugal, 50% owned by the Portuguese government, flies directly to 10 Brazilian cities. TAP's coverage of Brazil also includes major cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and Porto Alegre.

When it comes to Africa, flights from Lisbon can take you directly to the capital cities of the two major Portuguese-speaking African countries: Angola's Luanda, and Mozambique's Maputo, as well as Praia in Cape Verde, Bissau in Guinea-Bissau, and São Tomé in São Tomé and Príncipe.

TAP's direct flights to Africa also include other non-Portuguese speaking major cities, including Casablanca in Morocco, Accra in Ghana, Dakar in Senegal, Lomé in Togo, and Abidjan in the Ivory Coast, where the African Bank of Development is headquartered.

Lisbon's direct connectivity with all major European cities and global business centers such us Beijing, New York, and Moscow further raise the profile of the Portuguese capital for international investors.

Those doing business in Portugal also now have the option to benefit from the country's Golden Visa program, which offers a residence permit to individuals investing EUR350,000 in a Portuguese investment fund or in any asset in its booming real estate sector.

Additionally, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLC), headquartered in Lisbon, is an intergovernmental organization bringing together nine Portuguese-speaking countries: Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, East Timor, and Equatorial Guinea, totaling 266 million people.

Originally conceived as a cultural organization, it aims to advance its role as a geopolitical and economic forum with associate members such as Japan, Turkey, the UK, and Argentina, as well as officially interested parties, including India, Indonesia, and Australia, among others.

Part of the geopolitical importance of the CPLC lies in the fact that the member states together represent the fourth largest oil-producing bloc in the world.

On top of that, it is moving forward with its defense and security agenda.

According to the International Monetary Fund, Portugal's GDP growth rate reached 2.67% in 2017, the highest since 2000, leaving behind years of crisis following the financial collapse of 2008. 2012 stands out as the country's annus horribilis thanks to a -4% GDP decrease rate in its GDP.

Currently TBY is carrying out its in-country market research for The Business Year: Portugal 2019, which will be available by the end of the year.