Cape Verde government wants China as strategic partner

4 April 2006

Beijing, China, 04 April – Cape Verde wants to boost its relationship with China to the level of strategic partner in order to have access to trade loans from Chinese banks, the Cape Verdean ambassador to China, Júlio Morais, said in Beijing Monday.

“We want to create the conditions for Cape Verde to become a true strategic partner for China on the West African coast and we believe we have the conditions for that as we are a country with economic stability that is far from turbulence (.), with a well-qualified labor-force,” Morais told Portuguese news agency Lusa.

Morais, who said that China was showing itself to be quite open to the process of strategic partnership, also explained that one of the main positive points of that partnership would be that Cape Verde would become eligible for commercial loans from Chinese banks.

In January, Cape Verde’s Foreign Minister, Victor Borges, had already said that Cape Verde aimed to, “move away from an aid model to a more dynamic partnership,” and showed a wish to make the archipelago “an interesting target for Chinese investment.”

Cooperation between China and Cape Verde began on April 25 1976, with the setting up of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Since then, Cape Verde has received economic and technical support from China, such as the construction of the Government, Parliament and National Library buildings, amongst other projects.

China is currently building the first hydroelectric dam in Cape Verde, on Santiago Island and the two countries are now negotiating the construction of other dams, a football stadium, on the outskirts of the capital, a ceramics unit in Boa Vista and an industrial fishing unit in S. Miguel, in the interior of Santiago.

In January, during a visit to Praia by Chinese Foreign Minister, Li Zhaoxing, China approved a loan of US$2.4 million to Cape Verde to complete financing for two projects that are already underway in the health sector – the Outpatients Unit and Maternity Department of the Agostinho Neto Hospital, in the archipelago’s capital.

Although it exported nothing to the Chinese market, in the first seven months of 2005, Cape Verde imported Chinese goods to the value of US$1.94 million. (macauhub)