To bid farewell to Secretary-General Xu Yingzhen, who is ending her four year stint at the Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries – Macao (Forum Macao), representatives of Portuguese-speaking countries highlighted her qualities such as hard work, communication skills and ability to reach consensus.
To her colleagues, Xu is regarded as a great mentor for the development of Forum Macao. She was responsible for some great developments, including granting the Forum a higher status and equalizing the participation of all members, especially the younger ones.
“I think over the past four years, Xu has fulfilled her mission well and accomplished the goals that were programmed,” Nuno Furtado, a delegate from Cape Verde, told Macau Daily Times. “She had a very positive impact [on Forum Macao]. She was very collaborative and a hard worker who managed to conduct the Forum very well during her mandate.”
Another of Xu’s achievements that the other delegates commend her for is the organization of Forum Macao’s annual visits to all eight of the represented Portuguese-speaking countries.
“Previously there was the concept of rotating visits to one country per year, but what we proposed and she accepted was to have these official visits done annually to all these countries. This brought Forum Macao much closer to the countries,” Furtado said.
Francisca Reino, a delegate from Mozambique, remarked on the fostering of close relationships between Macau and the countries, including Mozambique.
“Mozambique and China have had a long relationship that has lasted for over 45 years. The work of the Forum was a consolidation [of this relationship] but, above all, in establishing a relation of proximity at the business level and entrepreneur level,” Reino said, adding that most of the work which has been done in the past few years by Xu cannot be seen immediately as the “results will become clearer with time.”
For Reino, the work done by the secretary-general clearly developed Forum Macao after creating the Forum and its organizational structures.
Maria João Bonifácio, the representative from Portugal, also highlighted Xu’s experience, competence and great work aptitude which resulted in “efficient work oriented in a calm manner.”
For Bonifácio, Xu’s qualities, combined with her flexibility and strength, made the secretary-general a person that people admired and listened to.
She also noted Xu’s efforts to promote events “to increase exchange and cooperation between companies in China and the Portuguese-speaking countries, [were] intending to leverage both trade and investment.”
A delegate at Forum Macao for only one year, São Tomé and Príncipe’s Gika Simão also noted the great assistance Xu provided to the West African nation, which joined the Forum around the same time the secretary-general took office.
Simão expressed gratitude for the way Xu supported the country, “putting it quickly at the same level as the older members.”
“She’s a person with extraordinary qualities who will leave a very rich legacy. She played a very important role on the integration of São Tomé and Príncipe and allowed us, in a short period, to start enjoying the benefits from the Forum,” Simão said, describing the way that Xu paved the road for smoother integration of the country in the structure of the Forum.
Also contacted by the Times, the Deputy Secretary-General of Forum Macao appointed by the Portuguese-speaking countries, Rodrigo Brum, confirmed that a farewell event for Xu took place on Monday.
“It is a fact that in several acts, there was a common point emphasizing of the qualities of the secretary-general and general opinions about her contribution for the facilitation of contact between all of us,” Brum said, adding that this showed “a high sense of diplomacy.”
For Brum, Xu’s term had great breakthrough moments which started with the special meeting on September 2017, chaired by Xu in Beijing. This meeting “conducted to a forthcoming vision which was followed by two very important conferences in March 2018 in Macau and then another in Beijing with the support of the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China,” said Brum.
Like the delegates before him, Brum also specially mentioned the annual official visits to all Portuguese-speaking countries and the visits to mainland China in which business and culture were highly regarded.