France and Cabo Verde
France and Cabo Verde maintain regular relations at bilateral level and via the special partnership of the European Union and Cabo Verde. Regular political dialogue is held by the two countries, which also maintain cooperation relations in the area of development and migration management (signature of a bilateral agreement in November 2008). The Cabo Verde has had an embassy in Paris since 1996.
Efforts to develop the use of French are being taken in this country (it has been mandatory starting in secondary school since 2013), which shows that Cabo Verde is very open to French influence. At the same time, Cabo Verde moved closer to the European Union, with which it concluded a “special partnership” in November 2007 concerning security issues in particular. In 2015, France was involved in the process to prepare the content for the future European Union-Cabo Verde Partnership for Security and Stability.
- 2015 (7-10 Nov.): The President of the Republic of Cabo Verde, Jorge Carlos Fonseca, met with the French National Assembly Friendship Group, but the purpose of his visit was above all to meet with the diaspora.
- 2013 (21 January): The President of the Republic of Cabo Verde, Jorge Carlos Fonseca, met with Yamina Benguigui, the French Minister Delegate for Francophonie.
- 2013 (4-6 February): The Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) Senator, Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam visited Cabo Verde. She was received by the Mayor of Praia, Ulisses Correia e Silva, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jose Louis Rocha, the President of the National Assembly, Basilio Ramos, and the President of the Republic, M. Jorge Carlos Fonseca.
- 2013 (9-11 March): The Mayor of Praia, Ulisses Correia e Silva, visited Paris. He was received in the City Hall of the XV Arrondissement by Philippe Goujon, Deputy Mayor and in the Senate by Senator Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam.
- 2013 (8-13 May): The Cabo Verdean Minister of Communities, Fernanda Fernandes came to France and visited Lyon, Marseille and Nice. She was received in Paris by Hélène Conway-Mouret, Minister Delegate for French Nationals Abroad.
- 2013 (12-15 July): The Deputy for French Nationals Abroad, Pouria Amirshahi, visited Cabo Verde. He was received by Deputy Minister Rocha, the Mayor of Praia and the new President of the Movement for Democracy party, Ulisses Correia e Silva.
- 2013 (6-15 September): Cabo Verde participated in the Francophonie Games (Jeux de la Francophonie) in Nice.
- 2013 (10 October): Yannick Imbert, Director-General of the French Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII) visited Cabo Verde. He was received in Praia by Fernanda Fernandes, Cabo Verdean Minister of Communities.
- 2013 (14-16 November): The Mayor of Praia, Ulisses Correia e Silva, visited Paris to attend the 33rd Conference of the International Association of Francophone Mayors (AIMF). He was received at the City Hall of the 15th Arrondissement by Deputy Mayor Philippe Goujon and at the Senate by Senator Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam.
- 2013 (6-7 December): Cabo Verde’s Prime Minister José Maria Neves, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jorge Borges, and Minister of Communities, Fernanda Fernandes, visited Paris to attend the Elysée Summit for Peace and Security in Africa.
France is a second-tier trade partner for Cabo Verde. In 2014, French exports mainly consisted of electronic and food products and stood at €11 million (versus €9.4 million in 2013 and €10.3 million in 2012). France’s market share is 1.6% (after ranging between 2 and 3% in the early 2000s) and our country is ranked 10 among suppliers, far behind some of our European partners (Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands). French imports remain symbolic (€155,000 in 2014).
The close correlation between Cabo Verdean and European economic cycles - the EU is the leading investor in the archipelago - has translated into a considerable decrease in foreign direct investment (FDI) since 2008. FDI in Cabo Verde reached a historic high in 2008 (US$209 million) but has significantly dropped since: US$120 million 2009, US$112 million in 2010, US$105 million in 2011, US$58 million in 2012 and US$45 million in 2013.
The Cabo Verdean economy remains one of the most open to foreign investments in sub-Saharan Africa. FDI stock in Cabo Verde has reached nearly $1.4 billion or 70% of the country’s GDP versus the average 15% in West Africa. These investments have been made in the tourism and real estate sector but also in telecommunications, health, energy water and sanitation. The main investors are Portugal, Spain and China.
France is present through individuals who have created their own businesses in the service sector (business management, tourism). It is however important to note the recent interest of French businesses in infrastructure investment opportunities: Thomson Broadcast won a call for tenders in late 2014 to deploy digital terrestrial television (DTT) on the archipelago.
The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) has been working in the Cabo Verde since it gained independence to develop the infrastructure sector (city facilities, water, sanitation, electricity) and the banking sector. Since the Cabo Verde was upgraded to the category of medium-development country in 2008, the AFD can once again grant sovereign loans: €10 million in 2009 in the water sector (drinking water supply and sanitation) in Santiago; €22.2 million in 2011 in the desalination units in Sao Vicente and in Sal. Finally, in December 2014, a €26-million loan was granted to the State to build power generation capacity on the island of Sal and optimize the incorporation of renewable energies in the electricity grid. The level of development Cabo Verde has reached is also increasing financing opportunities for private and public counterparties without government guarantees (“non-sovereign loans”): €10 million was granted in 2009 to three commercial banks for refinancing loans granted to municipalities; an initial line of credit of €5 million signed by PROPARCO in 2011.
As regards military and defence cooperation, France is concentrated on supporting Cabo Verdean armed forces in their efforts to achieve regional integration, particularly in the ECOWAS standby brigade. This support entails teaching military staff to speak French in particular, by relying on civil cooperation structures.