Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity




Aid quality is just as important as aid quantity, so the CDI measures gross aid as a share of GDP adjusted for various quality factors: it subtracts debt service, penalizes “tied” aid that makes recipients spend aid only on donor goods and services, rewards aid to poor but relatively well-governed recipients, and penalizes overloading poor governments with many small projects.

Portugal’s aid performance

  • Score: 3.3
  • Rank: 16


  • Large share of aid to poor and better-governed recipients (selectivity rank: 1)


  • Large share of tied or partially tied aid (74.77%; rank: 24)
  • Allows project proliferation; small average project size (rank: 26)


International trade has been a force for economic development for centuries. The CDI measures trade barriers in rich countries against exports from developing countries. It also penalizes costly importation processes and restrictions against purchasing services from foreigners.

Portugal’s trade performance

  • Score: 5.1
  • Rank: 17


  • As a member state of the European Union, Portugal imposes low tariffs on agricultural products including wheat, dairy, some meats, textiles and apparel
  • Relatively low cost to import a shipping container ($685 per container; rank: 3)
  • As a member state of the European Union Portugal imposes high tariffs on rice, sugar and beef
  • Many limitations on the importation of services (Services Trade Restrictions Index score: 23.9; rank: 23)
  • Many documents required for importation (15 documents; rank: 21)


Rich-country investment in poorer countries can transfer technologies, upgrade management and create jobs. Conversely, policies that permit financial secrecy of companies and banks can facilitate illicit activities and financial flows abroad. The CDI rewards policies that support healthy investment in developing countries and promote transparency in financial transactions at home.

Portugal’s finance performance

  • Score: 2.4
  • Rank: 22


  • Political risk insurance agency provides wide coverage and screens potential projects for violations of human, labor and environmental rights
  • Scores above average in the Financial Secrecy Index for regulations in place to promote transparent financial transactions within its jurisdiction (rank: 7)
  • Provides assistance to companies looking for investment opportunities in developing countries
  • Strong support to identifying bribery and corrupt practices
  • Weak leadership in extractive industry transparency initiatives 


The movement of people from poor to rich countries provides unskilled immigrants with jobs, income and knowledge. This increases the flow of money sent home by migrants abroad and the transfer of skills when the migrants return.

Portugal’s migration performance

  • Score: 2.4
  • Rank: 22


  • Large share of foreign students from developing countries (80.2%; rank: 7)


  • Small number of immigrants from developing countries entering Portugal (rank by share of population: 22)
  • Bears small share of the burden of refugees during humanitarian crises (rank: 25)


Rich countries use a disproportionate amount of scarce resources, and poor countries are most vulnerable to global warming and ecological deterioration, so the CDI measures the impact of policies on the global climate, fisheries and biodiversity.

Portugal’s environment performance

  • Score: 7.7
  • Rank: 5


  • Low greenhouse gas emissions rate per capita (6 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent; rank: 2) 
  • High gas taxes ($1.49 per liter; rank: 4)
  • GDP growth exceeded growth in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the past decade (average annual GHG growth rate/GDP,-3.6%; rank: 9)
  • Low fishing subsidies (rank: 10)
  • No fossil fuel production (0 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent; rank: 1)


Since security is a prerequisite for development, the CDI rewards contributions to internationally sanctioned peacekeeping operations and forcible humanitarian interventions, military protection of global sea lanes, and participation in international security treaties. It also penalizes arms exports to poor and undemocratic governments.

Portugal’s security performance

  • Score: 6.2
  • Rank: 7


  • Participates in major international security treaties and regimes
  • Positions naval fleet to protect sea lanes vital for international trade (rank: 4)
  • Significant personnel contributions to UN peacekeeping and humanitarian interventions over last decade (rank by share of GDP: 8)


  • Relatively small contribution to the UN Peacekeeping Operations budget (rank by share of GDP: 8)


Rich countries contribute to development through the creation and dissemination of new technologies. The CDI captures this by measuring government support for R&D and penalizing strong intellectual property rights regimes that limit the dissemination of new technologies to poor countries.

Portugal’s technology performance

  • Score: 6.4
  • Rank: 4


  • Provides patent exceptions for research purposes
  • Will force patent holders to license to meet social needs
  • Avoids intellectual property rights extension in bilateral trade treaties (“TRIPS Plus” measures)
  • Significant government support for R&D (rank: 4)
  • Allows patents on plant and animal varieties
  • Allows patents on software innovations
  • Offers patent-like proprietary rights to developers of data compilations, including those assembled from data in the public domain 
  • Imposes strict limitations on anti-circumvention technologies that can defeat encryption of copyrighted digital materials