Manuela Robinson was born in Mozambique and has over 30 years’ of experience in the financial sector. Following attending University in South Africa, Manuela moved to Lisbon, where she started her career in the banking industry. Manuela then met her husband and moved to the Algarve 19 years ago and continued working in the financial services industry until moving to Blacktower in Quinta do Lago 10 years ago. Manuela is now an Associate Director and successfully runs an excellent team of seven people.

Manuela is a trusted and well-respected pillar of the community due to her unwavering support and expertise through her involvement in multiple organisations. “Along these years, I have been actively involved with Rotary where I have been the President of the Rotary Club Estoi Palace International and Assistant District Governor for Rotary International.”

“I am also the President of the Supervisory board for TU – Talentos Unidos (United Talents Association) in Portugal, am also a corporate member of the British Portuguese Chamber of Commerce in Portugal, and have even been a Director for the Southern Committee in the past.”


Most excitingly, Manuela has become the first female President of the South African Chamber of Commerce in Portugal (CCILSA) since the 16th of January. Manuela told The Portugal News that “Last year, Tim Vieira, who was the President of CCILSA, asked if I would like to take over from him, as he is now dedicating the majority of his time to his new project, Brave Generation Academy, which is a new type of schooling in Portugal. It took a little bit of convincing but I finally accepted the challenge.”

Credits: Supplied Image;

Manuela then went on to say that: “At the moment the Americans are the biggest nationality coming into Portugal but there are also so many South Africans moving to Portugal. South Africa is very close to my heart and nothing gives me more satisfaction than to be able to help both corporates and individuals with this transition.” She then proudly added that they will be working closely with the South African Embassy, “I had a meeting with Ambassador Mmamokwena Gaoretelelwe in Lisbon and it was nice to see that she is on board and very much wanting to help and co-operate with the Chamber which will bring added stability and credibility to the chamber.”

Most excitingly, Manuela has been invited to an event in South Africa on the 25th of March as their guest of honour, where she will be speaking about CCILSA. Additionally, she will be celebrating Portugal Day in South Africa in an event that will bring together the Ambassador and some Government leaders to promote foreign trade and diaspora.

Taking CCILSA to the next level

Manuela explained that “There is a lot that needs to be done because with Covid-19 the chamber almost died, so it is almost like starting from the beginning in terms of generating revenue, bringing on new members, vetting things that are attractive for new members to want to join.”

Adding that, “I want the chamber to be able to help South Africans but also the local community, local entrepreneurs, promote foreign investment and foreign trade. I also want to focus on vocational training, regional and economic development and just general services.”

Further highlighting that “The chamber is also there as a network for businesses but also for private individuals and I want to increase their credibility in the local community and for them to be more exposed. I would also like to support local development and for people to come in and do talks about their business, their experiences, share their knowledge.” The President reaffirmed that at the core of her vision is that “the chamber is of added value.”

Manuela also acknowledged the fact that there has not been any event for CCILSA for the last three years due to the pandemic. “That is something that we will be doing, hopefully soon… we want to have new events and bring people together to see how we can help each other.”

Additionally, Manuela revealed that the CCILSA website will be undergoing some much-needed changes in the next month, to make it more accessible for members along with lots of updated information.

Carefully selected Board Members

Manuela gave insight into her carefully selected board, “We need to innovate and bring new ideas to the table, which is why I have people on my board of all ages, members who are in their 20s and in their 60s. They all have different expertise in different fields and that is why I believe that all of this brought together can really work successfully and this way we will be able to help other businesses and individuals.”

“I am the president but I cannot do it alone, it’s teamwork… and I am extremely happy and fortunate to be surrounded by very knowledgeable and talented people, that are going to help me take CCILSA to the next level!”

A promising future is ahead for CCILSA, which will be guided expertly by Manuela who concluded that “whether you are South African or not, you should consider joining the chamber as a member, I am certain that you will see the benefits and the value it will add.” Manuela will also be continuing her successful role at Blacktower and all her other endeavours with the Rotary and TU – Talentos Unidos Association in Portugal.

For more information on CCILSA, please visit, and alternatively, to get in touch with Manuela Robinson, please email


Following undertaking her university degree in English with American Literature in the UK, Cristina da Costa Brookes moved back to Portugal to pursue a career in Journalism, where she has worked at The Portugal News for 3 years. Cristina’s passion lies with Arts & Culture as well as sharing all important community-related news.

Cristina da Costa Brookes