Cape Verde takes on the presidency of the community of portuguese speaking countries (CPLP) at a time when the economy is bouncing back and waves of private investment are returning to its shores. Eurico Monteiro, Cape Verdean Ambassador to Portugal, argues that the government has made all the right moves to potentiate economic development in the country.
How important is it for Cape Verde’s international stand to assume the presidency of the CPLP?
Assuming the presidency of the CPLP is of great relevance since Cape Verde will have the opportunity to be coordinating, taking the lead and bring a new vision in a set of matters that are relevant to the work of the CPLP. If membership of the community, in a general way, makes the country gain visibility, leadership increases it even further, especially when the summit this year takes place in Cape Verde, where at least nine heads of state and two heads of government will be present.
What will be the policy guidelines of Cape Verde’s CPLP presidency?
We have a global CPLP program called “The New Strategic Vision”, and this document already contains the main lines of action of the CPLP for the coming years. Cape Verde intends to present some ideas that it considers important within the subjects covered by this document. These ideas will focus on three major themes that include People, Culture and the Oceans. First, People; There is a general feeling in the CPLP that the circulation of people at various levels, the circulation of capital, the circulation of technology and the circulation of information, are extremely important for the constitution of a sense of community that we are trying to promote.
Secondly, culture; The space of the CPLP includes a great cultural richness that has to be promoted. The movement of cultural promoters, the circulation of cultural agents, cultural products and cultural services will be an important part of facilitating mobility within the wider community.
Finally, the Oceans; All members have a very special relationship with the ocean and their future will necessarily pass through this resource, by the so-called maritime economy. Cape Verde wants to pool efforts in this area for investments that are absolutely indispensable to the issue of research, science and technology within the maritime economy.
What plans are there for investment in strategic infrastructure and logistics in Cape Verde?
The strategic plan for national sustainable development accounts for a comprehensive investment package for infrastructure development and Cape Verde has already taken significant steps in its mobilization. Particularly, as regards to the large investment in the creation of a logistics port for the supply of international vessels in São Vicente, an investment of more than 29 million euros will be made in the first phase of development alone. We are also working on the creation of an airport for logistics and international transport of passengers and freight where several developments and partnerships have already taken place.
How do you see Cape Verde’s current economic situation and business environment?
In recent years, we were recording a growth rate of 1% to 1.5%. At this point the data projects a 2018 growth rate above 4.5% to 4.7% and around 5% for next year. Data from the National Statistical Institute for the first quarter of 2018 also shows that there is increased confidence in the Cape Verdean economy, both on the part of business people and families. An environment of trust is fundamental to the growth of the economy. This confidence is due to the end of the international financial crisis but also, certainly, a result of the clarity shown in public policies designed to promote private sector investment.
What can the government do to attract and reassure foreign investors?
The importance of the private sector in the economy makes it essential to create a framework of absolute political, social, fiscal and regulatory stability, that is, the guarantee that laws will not change and that investment will continue to be facilitated. We won’t raise taxes for businesses and won’t change laws that create investment barriers.