"The focus on sustainable products is today inevitable for companies looking to make it big and lead in the future of their business. That is no different in African markets", states Helena Malcata, the Portuguese ambassador in Ethiopia
hat is your assessment of your experience as Portuguese Ambassador in this African region?
Very positive. I arrived in Ethiopia at a time of profound political and economic change. That has created big expectations in the International Community, which has been rushing here at an unprecedented pace. As the headquarters of the African Union, Addis Ababa is a mandatory crossing point for deepening the relationship with the Continent.
You accompanied in person the pioneering presence of the From Portugal delegation in Ethiopia. What did you think of what you saw?
First of all, we would like to congratulate ASM and the Portuguese companies participating in this continental event, which opens opportunities for investors, partners and customers. The stand of the Portuguese delegation stood out for the quality, sustainable and avant-garde products that characterize the Portuguese Textile and clothing industry (TCI) in every corner of the world.
Do you think African markets visiting ASFW have potential for Portuguese exporters?
These are fast-growing markets, although there is competition from the sector’s other players. That’s why the participation of the Portuguese companies is essential, because it allows us to show what differentiates our industry. In the case of Ethiopia, internationally renowned companies are increasingly present as a result of incentives to attract foreign investment.
The Portuguese TCI is betting big on sustainable products. Can they be an asset for us to penetrate these markets?
The focus on sustainable products is today inevitable for companies looking to make it big and lead in the future of their business. That is no different in African markets, where the industry’s environmental impact is also on debate.
When one day you change embassy, which country would you most like to represent Portugal in?
I arrived in Ethiopia two years ago and there is plenty to do and find out. When the time comes to change, equally interesting challenges will arise.
The Portuguese ambassador in Ethiopia has a law degree and a postgraduate in European Studies by the Portuguese Universidade Católica. In between 1992, when she started her diplomatic career, and the present day she has worked in places like the European Union and the UN. Now she is placed at Adis Abeba, where she is the Portuguese representative