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Cabo Verde: African Development Bank to strengthen support to private sector

The African Development Bank will triple its support to Cabo Verde, the Bank announced during the country’s International Donors Conference and Investment Forum in Paris, on the theme: “Building New partnership for Sustainable Development of Cabo Verde”.

The two-day event held 11-12 December 2018, brought together more than 600 participants, including 30 international bilateral and multilateral development partners from Africa, Europe, America and the Middle-East. The event served as a unique platform for the Government of Cabo Verde to present its new national Sustainable Development Strategy (PEDS) to the international community and the private sector, and seek partnerships for its successful implementation.

In his opening remarks, the Prime-Minister of Cabo Verde, Ulisses Correia e Silva highlighted Cabo Verde’s potential in terms of transforming the “sea into a vibrant blue economy; the wind and solar sunshine into energy; the youth talent into entrepreneurship; and the country’s regional location into a strategic platform for investors access to international markets”.

“Most importantly, our goal is to transform and replace aid to development with private sector financing taking into account our country’s specificities”, the Prime-Minister added.

The African Development Bank’s Director General for West Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office, Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade, commended the authorities for their commitment to structural reforms which enabled Cabo Verde achieve strong GDP growth, and sound governance.

Akin Olugbade announced the Bank’s intention to triple its support to Cabo Verde by allocating an estimated €175 million for the 2018-2021 period to be complemented by an additional envelop of €200 million, exclusively targeting private sector investments.

“Our partnership with Cabo Verde is not new but we want to inaugurate a new era where all our instruments, strategies and partnerships are better integrated to efficiently address the country’s development needs”, she said, pointing to the specific example of the Bank’s €17 million contribution to the Extension and Modernisation of the Port of Maio and Palmeira (Sal) Project approved December 6, 2018 by the Board, the Bank’s first port infrastructure project in Cabo Verde. The project will address territorial disparities by improving inter-island connectivity. The project’s agreement was signed on the sidelines of the Cabo Verde’s Investment Conference in Paris on 11th December 2018.

Prime Minister Correia e Silva went on to highlight the country’s priorities to enhance sustainable development, notably: investments on human resources development; implementation of sound economic reforms; infrastructure development to ensure inter-island maritime connectivity, improve efficient and business environment; increase resilience in response to climate change; enhance energy security and efficiency.

The strategic appeal from the government met with a strong commitment from the international community which pledged an estimated EUR 850 million of prospective support to public investments for the 2017-2019 period, and EUR 1 billion for private sector projects. Partners also committed to continue providing technical assistance to ease constraints in doing business, foster entrepreneurship and sustainable jobs, in particular for the youth.

Akin Olugbade also indicated that the Bank’s new country strategy for 2019-2023, will place greater focus on strengthening structural reforms for a conducive business environment while also supporting infrastructure investments in critical areas such as transport, energy, and agriculture. All these areas are in line with the Bank’s High 5’s and the country’s PEDS, 2017-2021.

The Director referenced new Bank’s initiatives which could benefit Cabo Verde’s Private Sector, such as the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) recently held in Johannesburg and the Development Finance Compact for African Lusophone Countries.

Since the beginning of the Bank’s operations in Cabo Verde in 1977, it has approved a total of 65 operations (loans and grants) for a cumulative amount of more than US$502 million.

FELIX NJOKU

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