Community of Portuguese Speaking Nations (CPLP) is a friendship organization of countries where Portuguese is an official language. Formed in 1996, CPLP endeavors to provide a common platform for exchange of ideas to the more than 223 million Portuguese speaking people across the globe. CPLP is more of the nature of a political-diplomatic organization and the promotion of the Portuguese language is its only cultural goal. At the time of formation, CPLP had seven member countries namely, Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and Sao Tome and Principe. East Timor joined the CPLP in 2002 after gaining independence. The CPLP is mainly financed by its eight member states.
CPLP started to accept states as associate observers after the CPLP summit of July 2004. Mauritius and Senegal were granted associate observer status in 2006 and 2008 respectively. From 2005, the fifth of May has been declared as Lusophone (Portuguese Speaking) Culture Day.
From its status of an organization for cultural unification, CPLP is emerging as an institution that strengthens multilateral cooperation. The CPLP countries are using the Portuguese language as a tool to overcome the illiteracy and education barriers. For instance, many children in the rural areas of Portuguese speaking Africa and East Timor are not attending schools and the officials are seeking the assistance of Portugal and Brazil to set up language schools to educate the youth. The language is used as a tool for economic development since in many developing African nations, Portuguese is the language of government and commerce. This enables Portuguese speaking people from African nations to work in Portugal and Brazil, which are economically developed countries.
CPLP’s Executive Secretariat is located in Lisbon, Portugal and is responsible for designing and implementing the CPLP’s projects in various countries. The Executive Secretary is elected for a two-year term, and can be re-elected only once. The Conference of Heads of State establishes CPLP’s guidelines and priorities and the plan of action is approved by the Council of Foreign Ministers, which meets every year. The Permanent Steering Committee which monitors specific initiatives and projects meets monthly.
CPLP is conducting a Portuguese language census and is into a variety of initiatives like the Centre for the Development of Entrepreneurial Skills based in Luanda, Angola, the Centre for the Development of Public Administration in Mozambique, Digital School and University and Emergency Project for the Support of Institution Rebuilding in Guinea-Bissau.