Portuguese Republic

History of Relations | Diplomatic Representation | Travel Info | Health Requirements | Climate Info | Currency Info | Trade Info | Visits and Meetings | Agreements | Interest Groups/ Organisations

History of Relations

Due to the historical and cultural ties between South Africa and Portugal, relations between the two countries have traditionally been close and pragmatic. Portuguese policy towards South Africa is largely determined in EU context.

A further basis of relations is the approximately 300 000 strong Portuguese Community in South Africa.

The Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement between South Africa and the EU (Free Trade Agreement) was finally approved by the EU on 24 March 1999 and is expected to be implemented from the beginning of the year 2000. South Africa agreed to phase out the use of the terminology "port" and "sherry" on its fortified wines within five years for general export, within eight years for non-Sacu SADC countries and within 12 years for the domestic market (SACU).

An Air Services Agreement wa signed in South Africa on 23 May 1997 between Transport Minister Mac Maharaj and the Portuguese Deputy Foreign Minister (Secretary of State) Jose Lamego. In October 1998, the late Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Alfred Nzo visited Portugal. The agreement on the Waiver of Diplomatic and Official Visas was signed during the visit.

In 1998, Portugal hosted Expo '98 with the "The Ocean - Our Heritage for the future" as its theme. The event can generally be considered a success and did much to boost the morale of the country. The site of the Expo, now called the Park of Nations, remains as an exhibition, show and leisure venue and has become an integral part of the life of the city of Lisbon. Minister Kader Asmal, then Minister of Water Affairs attended the African Day celebrations (3 August 1998) at the Expo.

President Sampaio attended the inauguration of South Africa's new President in June 1999, and the President of the Regional Authority of Madeira, Alberto Joao Jardim paid a semi-official visit to South Africa and Namibia in June/July 1999. President Mbeki visited Portugal briefly in 2000 to attend the EU Council Meeting at Santa Maria De Feira. In 2001, Ministers Manuel and Moosa paid brief visits to Portugal and MEC of Safety & Liaison of Gauteng, Nomvula Mikonyane visited in July 2001. Secretary of State for Development co operation, Luis Amado visited SA for talks with Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad.

Economic relations

The most important South African exports to Portugal are coal, steel products, frozen fish, fruit juices, fruit, vegetables, wood and granite. Main imports from Portugal are cork, machinery, textile fibres, cables, electronic equipment and articles of sound and image.

Diplomatic Representation

South African Representation in Portugal

H E Ms K S T Matthews
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

South African Embassy

Time difference with SA:
Winter = 2 hours
Summer = 1 hour

Portuguese Representation in South Africa

H E Mr M M C C Calvalho
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

Embassy of Portugal

Travel Info

Visa Requirements for South Africans

For more information please contact the Consular section of the Portuguese Embassy in Pretoria.

Health Requirements

There are no health requirements for South Africans travelling to Portugal.

For further information go to Travelers' Health.

Climate Info

Situated in the middle of the northern hemisphere, Portugal has a mild climate. However, the differences between the north/south and coast/inland weather are marked. Inland areas have a more variable climate than coastal regions. To the South of the Tagus River, the Mediterranean influences are clear. Long, hot, humid, summers and wet, short, relatively mild winters. May-October dry and warm, November-April cool with rain in the north, mild in the south (though often wet and windy January-March).

For up-to-date weather information click here.

Currency Info

The monetary unit is the Escudo (approx. R1 = 28 Escudos).

The fixed EURO:Escudo is 1 Euro = 200.48 Escudos

For current exchange rates click here.

State and Official Visits / Bilateral Meetings

No Information

Bilateral Agreements

If you have any queries with regard to treaties please contact the Treaty Section at 012 351 0892/0742 or send an e-mail to: vanderwaltr@dirco.gov.za.

Trade Info

On 24 March 1999, after more than three years of difficult negotiations, the European Council approved the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and South Africa. Portugal's initial objection to the "port" and "sherry" deal struck by Commissioner Pinheiro and Minister Erwin in Davos was dropped after a last minute compromise was reached in this regard.

On 1 January 1999, Portugal with most of its EU neighbours took a further step towards intergration with the introduction of the common monetory to the physical introduction of the currency in January 2002. Portugal had to meet the stringent requirements of the European Central Bank regarding inflation, deficits and interest rates.

South Africa's main exports to Portugal are coal, steel products, frozen fish, fruit juices, fruit, vegetables, wood and granite. Main imports from Portugal are cork, machinery, textile fibres, cables, electronic equipment and articles of sound and image.

For current information on trade statistics between South Africa and Portugal, visit the web site of the Department of Trade and Industry of South Africa.

Interest Groups and Information

No Information


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