Under the Lomé IV Convention, the principle of regional co-operation involving ACP countries with no geographical contiguity was adopted, allowing for the first PALOP (Portuguese-speaking African Countries) Regional Indicative Programme, signed on 29 June 1992, in São Tomé.
Regional Programme I
With a budget of €25m, the First PALOP Regional Indicative Programme (PIR PALOP I) set out the framework for cooperation between the European Commission and the five Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa (Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe).
The need for the PALOP Programme was based on a common gap in educational achievement, leading to difficulties in managing administrative and structural reforms in a transitional environment, and the relative isolation and remoteness of training institutions in PALOPs compared to similar institutions in the same region.
Specific objectives were defined as follows:
- Improvement of education systems;
- Training for the health sector;
- Institutional development (through the training of public officials, business managers, public and private external trade operators and statisticians); and
- Cultural cooperation.
By providing training for staff working in health, education, statistics, public administration, business management, foreign trade and investment, and by promoting books and reading, the aim was to be able to consolidate skills; at the level of institutional support in the various sectors, the aim was to create technical and legally more favourable conditions for the full use of the staff trained and to open them up to new institutional practices and policies.
The programme comprised seven sectoral projects, each led by one country representing the five.
- Consolidation of Educational Systems
- Statistical Training for Middle Managers
- Regional Centre for the Training of Public Health Professionals
- Regional Centre for the Training of Nurses
- Regional Centre for Training in Public Administration and Business Management
- Promotion of Foreign Trade and Investiment
- Bibliographical Fund of the Portuguese Language
The programme has for the first time encouraged operational relations in the sectors concerned, to stimulate more in-depth discussion nationwide than in higher-level relations, since relations between PALOPs had only taken place up to now at the level of Heads of State and members of Government.