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Porto takes on strategy to boost the region’s economy in the next decade

Porto takes on strategy to boost the region’s economy in the next decade
Porto. · 13 May 2022

"Pulsar” (pulsate) is defined as the plan that considers the economy of the city and the region for 2035. The most diverse entities that contributed to the definition of the Economic Development Strategy of Porto – and which will now assume the role of putting it into practice – met, this Friday afternoon, at the Super Bock Arena – Pavilhão Rosa Mota.

Based on 10 structuring projects, defining after consultation with around a hundred entities, "Pulsar” is found in trade, services and real estate, tourism and sports, in ICT and service centres, health and life sciences, culture and creative industries, mobility, energy and environment, the blue economy, and sustainable construction the focus for the future vision of a "Best Porto”.

For its implementation, a potential direct investment of approximately 600 million euros is budgeted, divided by the Municipality of Porto and the funds from the Recovery and Resilience Facility and NextGeneration EU.

Responding to an unpredictable but prosperous future

"This is a special day”, considered Ricardo Valente. In charge of the introductory words, the councilman responsible for Economy, Employment and Entrepreneurship stated that this plan is distinguished by "focus on value based on the ambition to grow for the best and not for the most”, for "the territorially inclusive perspective”, for the "fearless and bold identification of domains of intelligent specialization” and by the "articulation with the local identity”.

Highlighting the action plan underlying the strategy, Ricardo Valente said that "the path begins now and requires commitment and a sense of mission”. The councilman underlined that "Pulsar” will be based "on a governance structure independent of the municipal executive”.

"The secret of success is not to predicting the future”, concluded Ricardo Valente, quoting Michael Hammer, "but creating an organization capable of thriving with an unpredictable future”.

Special guest of the event, Elisa Ferreira congratulated the municipality for defining the economic development strategy in a logic of joint thinking and shared implementation.

"Cities must have a modern, strategic vision, combining all institutions, all wills”, says the European Commissioner for the Cohesion and Reforms, reinforcing that "Porto has a function that goes beyond the city” and extends to the region and from the region to the European level.

Elisa Ferreira left the wish that "Pulsar” contributes for a highly centred country to have the wisdom to recognize the potentialities and obstacles of each region”. "Multipolarity is a condition of resilience”, concluded the European Commissioner.

Talent and "Porto” brand as strongest points

The session at the Super Bock Arena – Pavilhão Rosa Mota also had room for a round table. Principal at EY – Parthenon, a consultant for the development of strategy, Hermano Rodrigues brought the concept of "creative destruction”, with a vision "guided for the upgrading of more traditional sectors”, but also of "fuel for activities linked to more emerging sectors”. "The development of the strategy sought to be slightly provocative”, he assumed, referring, for example, to the "lack of an agency to promote and attract investment in the North, as it exists in the city”.

Pro-rector for Strategic Planning at the University of Porto, Joana Resende congratulated "the ambition of this strategy for the city” and the fact that attracting talent at the core of "Pulsar”, an issue "particularly important to find solutions to the challenges, which are many”. The responsible also highlighted the "perfect symbiosis between the University and the city to attract foreign students”.

From FairJourney Biologics, António Parada highlighted, as the most positive points in the reality of the region, "the talent and the ‘Porto’ brand”, the latter "strong and absolutely important to attract customers”. "Being from Porto is having the will to work, taking things forward, not waiting for others. Conquer”, emphasized the Chief Executive.

On the negative side, António Parada referred to be "very thin” networks and the airport connections, which he defined as "a catastrophe for the region”.

Regarding the plan, Luís Filipe Reis, general director of Sonae Financial Services and Sonae Fashion, said it had a "rare quality to see even in a business context” and praised "the long-term vision” of Porto City Hall”. "Pulsar” has also, he said, the "credit of talking about economy without embarrassment”. "As long as we don´t develop the economy we won’t be able to develop the country”, believes the director general. For Luís Filipe Reis, "a city is not measured by its size, but by the stages where it acts, and Porto has always been a place of relationships”.

Build bridges to gain power

The debate session on Porto’s Economic Development strategy ended with the intervention of Rui Moreira. The mayor reinforced the idea that it is up to us to plan, design, to be "first movers” in this transition we are faced with”.

Recognizing that the "attempt to affirm Porto demands a lot from all of us”, Rui Moreira argues that the size of the region should not be a discouraging factor due to "our unwavering will to overcome challenges”. "In spite of everything, we are big enough to do things well”, he says.

The mayor bets on "building bridges, connections” to face the non-existence of a government at regional level. "Centralism does not abdicate the power or resources, so we have to conquer them”, launched Rui Moreira, reinforcing that this conquest "is a mission for all, demanding and making choices”.