Autor: Rui Jorge Cabral
The Global Diaspora Network wants to be an opportunity for the promotion of Azorean products abroad.
As stated by the executive director of the AEP Foundation, Paulo Dinis, "we believe in the genuine quality of the Azorean product, a product that is closely linked to this unmistakable territory, with its unique characteristics, and that can perfectly compete in the global market, with some exclusivity".
The Global Diaspora Network is a national project of the AEP Foundation, which facilitates contact between companies and provides tools to boost business between Portugal and its diaspora.
Currently, the Network allows direct contact with more than 10 thousand Portuguese companies spread over more than 150 countries. Paulo Dinis recalled that the AEP Foundation considers the Azores "a fundamental asset when we talk about diaspora" and stated the intention, within the Global Diaspora Network, to "disseminate the Azores Brand and generate value to the Azorean product, promoting it worldwide".
For his part, the president of the Chamber of Commerce, Mário Fortuna, considered that the Global Diaspora Network could be an "asset" for the Azores as a "circuit of interconnection with the communities," stating that the connection that already exists in politics and culture between the Azores and the Diaspora should be extended to the economic sphere, calling for more "economic diplomacy" of the Azores in the Diaspora.
Mário Fortuna recalls that the "lack of information" is still a major obstacle to those who want to invest in the Azores, calling for "specialized work" to be done in attracting foreign investment, instead of the "erratic" path that has been taken over the years in the Azores, with various institutions of the Regional Government succeeding each other, without much success, in promoting and welcoming foreign investment in the region. "It is necessary to promote the Azores product and the Government must be present in this phase of promotion, but it is also necessary to welcome businesses and, for to do so, nothing better than the business associations to welcome investment," said Fortuna.
Moreover, Mário Fortuna concludes that there is potential in areas such as agro-tourism and agro-food products, which make up the so-called "saudade market", which should be worked not only in North America (USA and Canada), but also increasingly in older Azorean communities with fewer ties to their origins, as is the case of Brazil.