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 in the areas of development and migration management (signature of a bilateral agreement in November 2008). Cabo Verde has had an embassy in Paris since 1996.
Knowledge of the French language and culture is growing in this country (French has been compulsory from secondary school since 2013). Moreover, in 2018, France joined the Community of Countries of Portuguese Language (CPLP), a dialogue forum of which Cabo Verde is also a member.
- 12 December 2018: meeting between Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and Luís Filipe Tavares, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence of Cabo Verde.
- 11-12 December 2018: visit to Paris by Cabo Verde’s Prime Minister, José Ulisses De Pina Correia e Silva, and nine members of his government.
- 8-14 April 2018: visit by the French National Assembly friendship group to Cabo Verde; meeting with Luís Filipe Tavares, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence.
- 6-10 February 2018: visit by Jorge Santos, President of the Cabo Verde National Assembly.
- 22 February 2017: visit to France by Luís Filipe Tavares, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence.
- 4 November 2016: visit to France by Luís Filipe Tavares, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence.
- 7-10 November 2015: meeting of the President of the Republic of Cabo Verde, Jorge Carlos Fonseca, with the National Assembly Friendship Group and Cabo Verde’s diaspora.
France is a second-tier trade partner for Cabo Verde. In 2016, French exports mainly consisted of electronic and food products and stood at €40 million (as against €11 million in 2015). French imports remain very limited.
France is mainly present through individuals who have created their own businesses in the service sector (business management, tourism, etc.) It is, however, important to note the interest of French businesses in infrastructure investment opportunities: For example, Thomson Broadcast won a call for tenders in late 2014 to deploy digital terrestrial television (DTT) in the country. Club Méditerranée also has projects in Cabo Verde.
Cooperation, development assistance
Present in Cabo Verde since independence, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD, French Development Agency) is active in the infrastructure sector (city facilities, water, sanitation, electricity) and banking sector. When Cabo Verde’s development level was upgraded in 2008, the AFD began to 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 São 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. However, since its red classification by the IMF in November 2016, the AFD can no longer offer this type of loan.
As regards military and defence cooperation, France concentrates on supporting Cabo Verdean armed forces in their regional integration efforts, particularly in the ECOWAS standby brigade. This support entails teaching military staff to speak French in particular, by relying on civil cooperation structures. The French Navy’s frequent stopovers are an opportunity to administer training.
Although it is a diplomatic presence post with limited staff, the French embassy in Cabo Verde was allocated a budget of €228,650 for 2018, under the 185 programme that is mainly managed from Paris. The targeted actions include: French language cooperation, cultural outreach/cooperation (via the Alliance Française of Mindelo, but also UNI-CV, the Pedro Pires Institute for Cape Verdean Studies and the Harmonia Kriol Jazz Festival), global issues (grants for senior civil servants), and research grants and scholarships. Cooperation with the Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer, conducting rescue operations at sea, began in 2017.
Cooperation to fight trafficking has been developed since 2016 with the Customs Directorate at the Finance Ministry following Minister Tavares’ visit to France. People working in ports, airports and the Directorate General have also received training in intelligence, counter-terrorism and tobacco issues. Coast guard training was provided by the National Directorate for Customs Investigations and Intelligence (DNRED) in the first half of 2017. The French Interior Ministry (DNRED) and Cabo Verdean Interior Ministry signed an agreement in January 2018 on the fight against drugs.
Updated: February 2019