Cape Verdean government studying construction of a ‘little Brasilia’ in the capital Praia

27 September 2010

Praia, Cape Verde, 27 Sep – The government of Cape Verde may soon begin construction of a ‘little Brasilia’ in the capital Praia to house the ministries and other public departments on the island – a project taken up by Prime Minister Jose Maria Neves.

The local newspaper O Liberal reported that the idea was born during the recent visit by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to Sal Island and has an approximate cost of 150 million euros (17 billion Cape Verdean escudos).

The project will probably get under way before next year’s elections, the newspaper indicated.

According to the Africa Monitor newsletter, the respective financing will be guaranteed by a credit from Brazil, on the condition that the construction contract is awarded to Brazilian firms.

That source asserts that sectors of the governing party (PAICV) and a number of leaders, among them the minister Cristina Fontes, have some reservations about ‘little Brasilia’, as it is already known in the island country.

Despite being promoted as a milestone in the development of Cape Verde, which has achieved average developing country status and is trying to attract foreign investment to modernise the economy, some government officials believe that public opinion may consider the project a waste of public funds.

With an estimated external debt of US$550 million, Cape Verde would see its financial commitments increase by 20 percent in just one go.

In statements to the newspaper A Semana, the prime minister argued that what the country will pay is equivalent to the “more than 300 million escudos of rent” it currently pays to occupy the buildings housing its services.

For Jose Maria Neves, who was educated in Brazil, it would also be an emblematic public work marking his two terms at the head of the government since 2001. (macauhub)