Portugal has a number of old-school, state-owned firms, including the airline TAP and several utilities companies that the government is supposed to privatize as part of the terms of its semi-bailout by the European Union. The difficulty with mandating this kind of reform as a crisis measure is that there’s not a ton of international interest in Portuguese utilities and the domestic market for purchasing Portuguese enterprises is depressed due to the very economic crisis that’s forcing the bailout and thus the privatization.
So Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, who’s from the Social Democratic Party which despite the name is the right-of-center party in Portugal, has hit upon the innovative idea of trying to drum up interest in Angola, Portugal’s former colony. As the former colonial power, Portugal has a lot of personal and business relationships with Angola. And Angola, though poor, is growing rapidly lately thanks to oil exports. Already Angolans own about 3.8 percent of the value of the Portuguese stock market.