This, he noted, was in the aftermath of the global financial crash and economic crisis that followed, hitting Portugal’s financial system hard.

Carneiro also stressed that the countries where Portuguese investment is growing faster and where the country’s companies have made most headway are those with larger Portuguese communities, while 25 percent of tourism in Portugal originates from these regions.

There are now some 5.7 million Portuguese nationals and descendants of Portuguese who identify as such around the world.

The deputy premier of Madeira’s regional government, Pedro Calado, also stressed the importance of investors from the diaspora, notably from Venezuela, South Africa, the UK and Australia – where most emigrants from the island are clustered.

“Nowadays, our emigrant no longer looks with homesickness at his homeland as just the land where he was born,” he said. “He looks at his land as a point of interest for investment, to create jobs and to earn a return on his savings.”

Preferred areas of investment are agriculture, fisheries, civil construction, tourism and real estate, Calado said.