New research predicts the European population to fall more sharply than previously expected; from 450 million today to 310 million by the end of the century. The reason is a further decline in the fertility rate – the average number of children per woman.

Many variables have an effect of the fertility rate such as marriage age, access to birth control, the right to abortion and education to women. If the rate falls below approximately 2.1, the size of the population starts to fall, as is the case in Portugal, that has a fertility rate of 1.4.
However, with the new estimates of the study, Portugal will see their population further reduce by more than half by 2100.

In 2019 Portugal had a population of 10,3 million, about 280 thousand people less than a decade ago. The 2,7% decrease observed was mainly driven by a decrease in births but the migratory balance ended up attenuating this trend, given the fact that in the last ten years over 400 thousand immigrants entered the country as ‘new citizens’.

Aside from fewer people, the country registers a progressively older population, verifiable by the fact that only the group of people over 65 years of age increased between 2009 and 2019. In fact, Portugal is – after Italy and Greece –  the third most aged EU country with the lowest percentage of young people. More than 20% of the Portuguese is over 65 and only 14% less than 15 years of age. There are now 163 elderly people for every 100 young ones.

About 52% of the population over 15 years has no more than basic education; the lowest percentage in Europe! In contrast, the percentage of people with secondary or higher education increased in the last decade to 33%. Though in 2019 still, 6% of the population over 15 years of age has no schooling whatsoever.

A WHO study of youngsters done before the corona epidemic revealed that Portuguese teenagers are more home-keeping than European and like less school. Only 9,5% of them say they like to go there. If performed now the survey might show surprising results as the pandemic seems to have improved the relationship between adolescents and schools, according to Tânia Gaspar, a psychologist and one of the researchers of the study. ‘Youngsters are more responsible now and closer to their teachers, who had to reinvent work methods – such as technologies – that were already familiar to their students.’

Stay healthy                          Fique saudavel             (pic público/sapo)

One of the best ways to launder money is to buy a bank

Cross-border journalistic investigation has uncovered an enormous corruption case orchestrated by Africa’s richest woman Isabel dos Santos, the first daughter of Angola’s former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos and known in her home country as ‘the Princess’. The Angolan government claims that she has caused over a billion-dollar of losses to the Angolan state.

At the centre of the charges are claims that she used her position as chairwoman of Angola’s state oil company Sonangol – of which she was the main shareholder until sacked in November 2017 – to illicitly make millions of dollars payments via her EuroBic bank in Portugal to companies in Dubai controlled by her friends.

BPI (the Portuguese Investment Bank)party owned by the Angolan billionaire – willingly provided dubious services to her by opening a bank account for an offshore shell company on the Isle of Man to facilitate her buying of a 60 million worth real estate in Monte Carlo.

Joaõ Batalha of the Portuguese branch of Transparency International believes the Bank of Portugal – that under Portuguese law regulates banking activities in the country – was blatantly complicit. Former Euro MP of Portugal’s Socialist Party Ana Gomes has no doubt about it. ‘Portugal has become a laundry for corrupt money, that is bad for our reputation.’

Gomes points to EuroBic as an example of the complicity between former coloniser Portugal and Angola for the personal enrichment of the elites on both sides of the Atlantic. ’Under the former Portuguese finance minister Fernando Teixeira, the collapsed BNP bank was saved by the state with a huge injection of € 5 billion, creating EuroBic.
The bank was then sold to Isabel dos Santos for € 40 million and who became its CEO? Indeed, Fernando Teixeira!’

The level of complicity is very much political. It isn’t just Isabel and her husband, the Congolese art collector Sindika Dokolo. She was acting as frontwoman for her father, the former president of Africa’s fifths biggest economy, who since 2018 lives in Barcelona and is said to have been stolen over 100 billion from the Angolan state during his four-decade presidency.

As more details about the corruption scandal become unveiled, Portuguese companies exposed to Isabel’s empire – energy giants like Galp and Efacec and telecommunications firm NOS – are holding their breath.

Questions are being asked about the Dos Santos 6% stake in Portugal’s oil firm Galp, the second biggest company on the Lisbon stock exchange market, with operations in Angola, Brazil and Mozambique. With a loan from Sonangol € 75m was paid for the stake, which was well worth over € 700m in February.
Last month alone millions ‘in cash’ were discovered in a safe deposit box that she holds at a branch of Novo Banco in Porto.

In April a Lisbon court ordered the ‘preventive seizure’ of Isabel’s 26% stake in Portuguese telecoms company NOS after a generalized freeze in February of all her bank accounts in Portugal in response to a request from Angola’s attorney general, who threatened to issue an international arrest warrant against her if she fails to cooperate with the investigations.

Isabel dos Santos– who in the summer of 2018 moved from Luanda to London – maintains that she is the victim of a political witch-hunt and doesn’t believe in a fair trial if she returns to Angola to defend herself.

Opinions remain divided over whether the Judiciary in Lisbon will be able – and willing – to flex its muscles given that investigating Angolan corruption will implicate senior Portuguese officials from across the country’s political spectrum.

Stay healthy                                    Fique saudável             (pic público/sapo)