France and Cabo Verde

Presentation

Political relations

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). Cabo Verde has had an embassy in Paris since 1996.

Knowledge of the French language and culture is growing in this country (French is compulsory starting secondary school since 2013).

Visits

  • 2015 (7-10 November): the President of the Republic of Cabo Verde, Jorge Carlos Fonseca, met with the National Assembly Friendship Group and the Cabo Verde’s diaspora.
  • 2016 (4 November): Luís Filipe Tavares, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence visited France.
  • 2017 (22 February): Luís Filipe Tavares, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence visited France.
  • 2018 (6-10 February): Jorge Santos, President of the National Assembly visited France. (8-14 Avril): The National Assembly Friendship Group visited Cabo Verde and met with Luís Filipe Tavares, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence.

Economic relations

France is a minor trade partner for Cabo Verde. In 2017, French exports stood at €26 million, down 28% on 2016 (compared with €11 million in 2015). French imports remain symbolic.

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) on the archipelago.

Cooperation, development assistance

Present in Cabo Verde since it gained independence, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD, French Development Agency) has been working in the infrastructure sector (city facilities, water, sanitation, electricity) and the banking sector. When Cabo Verde was upgraded to the category of medium-development country 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 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. However, since the IMF listed it as a deficit country in November 2016, the AFD has no longer offered this type of loan.

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. The French Navy’s frequent stopovers are an opportunity to administer training.

Although it is a post with a diplomatic presence of limited staff, the French embassy in Cabo Verde for 2018 has been allocated a budget 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. French Interior Ministry (DNRED) and the Cabo Verdean Interior Minister signed an agreement in January 2018 on the fight against drugs.

Updated: 01.07.18