Cape Verde: China supports re-launch of Cape Verde’s shipyards

3 March 2008

Praia, Cape Verde, 3 March – Cape Verdean shipyard, Estaleiros Navais de Cabo Verde (Cabnave), which has been struggling for several years, is to be re-launched with the support of Chinese company China (Overseas) Fisheries Co (CNFC), on of several companies in the sector that is due to launch projects on the Portuguese-speaking archipelago.

According to Manuel Inocêncio Sousa, Cape Verde’s Infrastructure, Transport and Sea minister, CNFC, which has important fishing operations on the West African coast, has already shown interest and asked to be considered a partner in the privatization of Cabnave, which is strongly supported by the Cape Verdean company, which currently has 200 workers.

“CNFC has a significant fishing fleet in this area of the Atlantic, made up of 245 vessels that operate between Morocco and Sierra Leone. The mere repair of those vessels at Cabnave would liven up, and how, the naval industry in Sao Vicente. This is without even counting on the same firm in the rehabilitation of Cabnave, via privatization,” Cabnave chief executive, Baltasar Ramos told a Cape Verdean weekly newspaper.

Ramos also said that CNFC would soon present a business plan for the Cape Verdean company, which would be handed in to the Government Privatization Bureau, together with a privatization proposal.

Later, a working group is expected to be created to analyze the proposal and give its opinion to the Praia government.

However, CNFC’s interest in Cape Verde does not end at Cabnave.

According to Ramos, the Chinese fishing company is also interested in creating an Operations Center in Sao Vicente, which will work as a logistics base for its fishing fleet.

Cabnave’s privatization has been considered in Praia since 1998.

In 2005, there was a suggestion that an international public tender could be launched, which included concession of management to a third party, but the process ended up, once again, being suspended.

Alongside the Chinese partnership with Cabnave, the Cape Verdean government is trying to refurbish the Interbase refrigeration unit, in this case with the support of Spain.

Transport minister, Manuel Inocêncio, recently told the local press that the project was awaiting the go-ahead from the Spanish Foreign Trade Ministry.

“When funding has been confirmed to modernize and refurbish Inerbase, the Cape Verde government will set off the process leading to establishing a partnership with fishing sector businesspeople in Spain, so that, as concession-holders, they can run the factory,” the minister said.

With these two projects, he said, it will be possible to create a fishing base at Mindelo Port that is capable of attracting the fishing fleets of Spain and China, which operate on the West African coast.

A delegation from the Chinese city of Shenzhen, headed by Chinese deputy president Zhuo Qinrui, recently visited the port of Mindelo and Cabnave.

The visit served for Enapor, the state company that manages Cape Verde’s ports, to present the potential of the archipelago’s infrastructures, and their ambitious expansion projects.

Amongst the Chinese companies in the maritime sector that are in expansion in Cape Verde, the highlight is the China Ocean Shipping Companies Group (Cosco), one of the biggest shipping companies in the world, which is working on a partnership with Enapor.

Enapor’s business plan forecasts that cargo at the archipelago’s ports will increase by 68 percent by 2015.

Fishing and shipping are the areas in which Cape Verde has shown most interest in boosting its cooperation with China, along with the creation of industrial and commercial free trade areas and tourism. (macauhub)