|Neves begins visit to Portugal today|
Reinforcing the strategic partnership and the economic and business cooperation between Cape Verde and Portugal is the main objective of the official visit Cape Verdean Prime Minister José Maria Neves will make to Portugal beginning today. Neves will be accompanied by the Minister of the Economy, Growth and Competitiveness, João Pereira Silva, the Minister of Education, Filomena Martins, and State Secretary Domingos Mascarenhas. A new Indicative Cooperation Program for the 2005-2007 period, concentrated in the sectors of human resources, infrastructures, economic and business cooperation and health, will be signed during the visit.
In addition to meetings with Portuguese president Jorge Sampaio and Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Santana Lopes, Neves is also slated to meet with the administrative council presidents of companies in the banking, telecommunications and electricity sectors. On December 3, the final day of the visit, Neves will hold separate meetings in the city of Porto with the president of the Portuguese Investment Agency, Miguel Cadilhe, and the president of the Business Association of Portugal, Ludgero Marques.
The visit will also be used to fine-tune the financing mechanisms for the asphalting of the Praia-São Domingos road on the island of Santiago and the construction of the Praia traffic ring, both part of the Indicative Cooperation Program that ends in December.
The visit is also scheduled to include meetings with the Cape Verdean émigré and student communities in Coimbra and Porto.
In bilateral terms Portugal is Cape Verdes main economic partner, followed by Luxembourg. In terms of investments Portugal is also well-situated. In 2002, only 4% of all investments made in Cape Verde were Portuguese in that year, Italy was the countrys largest foreign investor. Last year, the situation was reversed, with Portugal responding for 82% of total foreign investments, followed by Spain with 9.2% and Italy with 4.6%. 62% of the investments in projects authorized by June of 2004 were Portuguese, 29% Spanish and 4.5% Angolan.
After the signing of the Indicative Cooperation Program, the Annual Cooperation Program will be signed as well. Next years is already in the final phases of preparation, and a delegation from the Portuguese Development Support Institute will arrive in Praia next week to finalize details.