Information Technology Landscape 

These pages provide an analysis of information technology in Portugal.
Comments and suggestions are welcomed.*


 Table of Contents






Background: 1
Portugal lies on the periphery of Europe's western seaboard and is bordered by Spain to the north and east. In addition to its mainland on the most western part of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal also has two archipelagos in the Atlantic Ocean - the Azores and the Madeira Islands. The main language is Portuguese, a Romance language which has been enriched by Arabic and other tongues. It is the language used in Brazil, as well as other former Portuguese colonies, including Mozambique and Angola.

Portugal was a monarchy from the 11th century until 1910 when a revolution led to the creation of a republic. In 1932, Dr. Antonio de Oliveira Salazar became prime minister and established a right-wing regime which lasted until 1968. His successor, who also was right-wing, was overthrown by a military coup in 1974. After a period of political turmoil, a new Constitution was ratified which committed Portugal to make a transition to Socialism. The Constitution was revised in 1989 when Marxist elements were removed. Today, the government is a unicameral parliamentary democracy and the country an EU Member State and  NATO member.

Portugal became a member of the European Community in 1986. It is considered a high-income, developed country with moderate industrialization. Its main industries are textiles, clothing, footwear, food, wine, pharmaceuticals, wood, cork, paper, glassware and machinery. It has modern steelworks and two shipbuilding and repair yards at Lisbon and Setubal. A number of hydroelectric power stations and a new thermal power station serve the nations needs.

Some key country indicators are listed below: (Source: Instituto Nacional de Estatistica, 1995)

Information Technology Background:
The World Paper Online Information Imperative June 1996 Index categorizes Portugal as a "Stroller" in its efforts to embrace the information age and become an information society. Since becoming an EU Member, Portugal has made significant strides to catch up with other industrialized countries and Member States; yet its overall evolution is characterized as somewhat lower than the most advanced countries, such as the United States, Sweden, and Canada, as well as its counterparts in the Union, with the exception of Greece, Ireland and Spain. Recently, it has aggressively embraced and promoted several new technologies, but over the past ten years it has primarily relied upon gradually enhancing technologies and infrastructures with the help of EU structural funds. 

Format of Report:
The Bangemann Report has been used as a framework for analyzing the measures Portugal has taken to develop its infrastructure in the sphere of information. The Bangemann Report's Recommendations to the European Council, defined in 1994, outlined the basis and necessary means for action for Europe in the global information society. Its key areas of recommendations for Member States and the Union overall included guidelines for the regulatory framework, definitions of a requisite legal foundation, and descriptions of the evolutionary paths for networks, basic services and advanced applications for information technology. Please refer to to read more about the report's contents.

The World Paper Online's Information Imperative Index2 identifies variables that have the most direct connection with a Country's access to, and its ability to absorb and utilize, information. Results are normalized based upon regression analysis to allow meaningful comparisons between small countries and large ones. Rankings are assigned based on three categories which measure a country's social, information and computer infrastructures. An overall score is also assigned. Top ranked countries are categorized as "Power Walkers" to represent their established infrastructures and computer literate populations. "Striders" are those nations who are moving purposefully in the direction of an Information Society with both caution and conviction. "Strollers" progress in a steady, yet slower pace, while "Meanderers" move without any great haste due to prohibitive infrastructure costs, limited consumer demand and cultural fear.


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Last updated May 9, 1998