Recent reports have confirmed that Cape Verde will allow visa-free access for the EU from next year, which is expected to boost growth by approximately 7 percent.
This news forms part of a bid to enhance general tourism levels, vital to Cape Verde’s growing economy and continued development, according to the Prime Minister, Ulisses Correia e Silva.
Visa-free access for EU citizens is likely to begin in 2018. The Prime Minister confirmed that tourism is their most dominant sector; therefore they are investing strongly to improve the island as a destination in order to strengthen and bolster tourism. This also forms part of a flurry of proposals, which include privatization of the state-owned airline, airport management and crop growing for export, to help increase the GDP and local economy.
Cape Verde, consisting of 10 main islands, some of which are surrounded by beaches, attracted approximately 550,000 tourists last year alone. The total contribution of tourism was estimated to account for 44 percent of GDP in 2016, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.
Once the government programme is in place, plans to boost economic growth to roughly 7 percent by 2021 will be on track, a rate only witnessed before the 2008 global financial crisis. The International Monetary Fund data showed that Economic growth slowed to an average of 1.3 percent annually in the last six years to 2015.
Last week, the council of ministers approved financial incentives for foreigners to invest in Cape Verde, which will include residency. Prime Minister, Ulisses Correia e Silva said: “It’s not just for tourism, but it’s to facilitate the mobility of investors, academics, culture, science and technology,”
The government is continuing to execute their plans to strengthen Cape Verde’s growing economy. In addition to the above the government are also hoping to move tourism from a resort-concentrated model to an industry one that will see each of the island’s provide their own unique appeal and point of difference. For instance, the islands of Sal and Boavista have beaches, whilst the other islands could offer the likes of adventure experiences and much more.
Tourism has enabled development in agriculture from a subsistence-based system to one that caters for visitors and requires better distribution, inter-island transport and logistics. Cape Verde is also looking for export opportunities to the EU according to Ulisses Correia e Silva, such as products like papaya fruit, which grow easily on the islands.
This is positive news for Cape Verde and its investors, and demonstrates the government’s focus on building for the future and continued plans to grow the economy.
Source: Bloomberg Markets