Timor Leste Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araujo (Source: VNA)

Dili (VNA) - The first Economic Global Forum of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) opened in Timor-Leste’s capital of Dili on February 25.

Addressing the forum, Timor Leste Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araujo said Timor Leste wants to make contributions to boosting the development of the CPLP with member countries from four continents. Timor Leste commits to accelerating its ASEAN integration to increase the community’s presence in the region.

Timor-Leste’s former President Jose Ramos-Horta said the Dili event is “extremely important", showing on the one hand the collaboration between the Government and the private sector and at the same time, opening the door to new contact networks.

"We live in a global economy and it is important to establish contacts. Portuguese-speaking entrepreneurs can settle here and, taking advantage of the geographical position of Timor-Leste, establish contact networks and investment here in the region, especially in view of the accession of Timor-Leste to ASEAN”, he said, referring to the ample opportunities available throughout the region.

Estanislau da Silva, Timor-Leste’s Minister of State and Coordinator for Economic Affairs, noted the special conditions of Timor-Leste, a "new country with resources, great comparative advantages, great opportunities and with excellent relations with neighbouring countries”.

"Timor is a pioneer in this effort to transform the CPLP in a forum not only for multilateral cooperation on political and other issues but also a cooperation forum in the commercial and business area. And here Timor-Leste can bridge the gap between the CPLP and the countries of Asia and the Pacific”, he said.

The forum also intends to point out and discuss the geostrategic relevance of Timor-Leste as a hub for business development between Timorese, CPLP, ASEAN and Asia-Pacific companies.

It aims to enable business-to-business meetings, doing business environment presentations and strategic development sectors analysis in CPLP, ASEAN and Asia-Pacific countries.

As host of the first forum, Timor-Leste defines four strategic sectors for discussion and promotion, namely oil and gas, agriculture, agro-business, fishery and sea industry, tourism, manufacturing industry and infrastructures and construction.

The CPLP is a multilateral forum created to deepen mutual friendship and cooperation among its member states.

Through successive enlargements, the community has grown from the seven founding states— Angola , Brazil , Cape Verde , Guinea-Bissau , Mozambique , Portugal , and São Tomé and Príncipe —to the current nine, with the self-determination of Timor-Leste in 2002 and the accession of Equatorial Guinea in 2014.-VNA