- Cape Verdean Prime Minister José Maria Neves on an official visit to the United States has met with the Diaspora and Cape Verdean students in the US, asking the many skilled emigrants to return to the archipelago, promising them tempting business opportunities.
Speaking to emigrated countrymen at the Bridgewater State University, PM Neves made it clear that the large Cape Verdean Diaspora was needed at home for its skills. It is estimated that far more Cape Verdeans live abroad than on the economically successful West African archipelago, especially in the US and in Europe.
"Obviously," Mr Neves said, currently "Cape Verde has a multitude of business opportunities within a vast range of sectors." The rapid economic development of the last decade had transformed the island state into a "modern and competitive country," he emphasised.
He told the Cape Verdean Diaspora that skilled labour was now needed at home as his government was about to transform the country into "a large business and services platform within the sectors of tourism, transport and new technologies."
The Cape Verdean Diaspora has traditionally contributed greatly to the country's development, aiding families at home with cash transfers, but also by investing in the country. Large numbers have invested in a holiday house on the archipelago, regularly visiting their home island, but few have taken the step of moving back home.
Now, Mr Neves wants to attract both new investments and skilled labour, presenting a new programme to reach these goals. Regarding investments, the Prime Minister announced reduced tax and customs rates for emigrants wanting to do business in Cape Verde. Also government subsidies - as was the case in the recent establishment of the "Cabo Verde Fast Ferry" by two US-based Cape Verdeans - could be made available, especially within the transport sector.
Among the skills desperately needed in Cape Verde, Mr Neves referred to recent government programmes to promote new technologies. Government and private businesses had invested large sums in transforming the archipelago into a major centre for IT-based services. Cape Verde was already the African leader in the field of e-government, Mr Neves held.
Renewable energies is another sector government currently was promoting, Mr Neves told emigrants. Sun, wind and waves provided unlimited resources for energy development and production on the archipelago, but there was a need for further private investments and skilled labour.
Prime Minister Neves told emigrants that government had thoroughly transformed the home country, making it attractive for investments and labour. Government had "modernised infrastructures and improved conditions for investments." Red tape had been drastically reduced and by now, it was possible to "create a company within a few hours," the PM boasted.
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