Journalists complain it’s hard work following Portugal’s energetic president Marcelo. This week has been no exception. From a visit to former colony Cape Verde, he has jetted off to Senegal – to be the first Portuguese head of state to visit the country, linked to Portugal through the Discoveries, since the April 25 revolution.
A highlight of the trip will be the delivery of 162 ambulances equipped by a Portuguese firm.
But there is a lot more in the background.
Senegal is essentially French-speaking, but there are areas where a form of Portuguese crioule is prevalent, and Portuguese as a foreign language has been on the country’s education curriculum since 1961.
Geographically close to both Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau (another former Portuguese colony), Senegal is thus “close to Portuguese-speaking countries, and keen for any opportunities this may involve.
But another aspect – less well known – is the issue of “enslaved children in false Koranic schools of Senegal, some of which were rescued as a result of the work of Portuguese photographer Mário Cruz”.
Says Lusa, Cruz’ work won World Press Photo acclaim, and he went on to present the president with a book on it last October.
Portugal also owes Senegal a visit of thanks, for the country’s support of the candidacy of former prime minister António Guterres to the post of UN secretary-general, adds Lusa.
President Marcelo’s trip will last until Friday.