Cabo Verde: Government wants to attract 4,000 digital nomads

Cabo Verde plans to attract 4,000 qualified foreigners to work remotely from the archipelago over the next three years through the “Digital Nomads” programme, one of the strategies to reinvent tourism during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The goal is included in the government programme for the legislature (2021 to 2016), which will be discussed on Monday in parliament and requires a vote of confidence in the government, with the executive led by Ulisses Correia e Silva assuming continuity of the “Remote Working Cabo Verde – Digital Nomads” programme, presented at the end of 2020.  

The government says it will “develop youth entrepreneurship in the tourism sector associated with Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), as is the example of the Reinvent Tourism Project”, and that it will “stimulate and encourage” the “Digital Nomads” programme.

“It is intended within three years to attract 4,000 clients who will live in Cabo Verde for long stays (six to 12 months), from where they will work, combining work and leisure and allowing money to be injected into local economies,” the executive points out in the Government Programme.  

Lusa reported at the end of 2020 that Cabo Verde intends to attract European, American and Portuguese-speaking citizens to work remotely from the archipelago through a programme that allows for six-month stays with a temporary work visa.

The “Remote Working Cabo Verde” programme comes at a time when the archipelago, with virtually no tourism since March 2020, is trying to revive international interest as a destination for sun and sand, reinforced by the safe environment in the face of the pandemic, after strengthening laboratory capacity to detect the disease and it has internationally certified health units.

Officially launched by the Cabo Verdean government in December, the programme consists of a temporary six-month work visa, with the possibility of renewal for an equal period, at a total cost per person of €54, and includes exemption from payment of income tax for independent workers who come to the archipelago to telecommute.

Sun, beach, hospitality, tranquillity, and a guaranteed high-speed Internet connection to “work while enjoying the country’s natural beauty” are arguments presented in the campaign abroad, consulted by Lusa, which is valid for independent workers and their families.

The programme, whose applications can be submitted electronically, is only aimed at citizens of countries in Europe, North America, the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries (CPLP) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). As well as a negative test for Covid-19 to enter the archipelago, it requires proof of income, namely an average bank balance of at least 1,500 euros over the last six months for an individual visa and 2,700 euros for a family visa.

According to Tourism Minister Carlos Santos, this programme is part of the recovery of tourism in Cabo Verde, after the restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, simultaneously trying to diversify Cabo Verde’s tourist offer.

He adds that it arises precisely because telework gained strength, in the context of the pandemic, as “suddenly, people realised that it is possible to work away from companies.”

“That is, outside of spaces or offices. And here what is being done is to take advantage of this new start, this emphasis that is being placed on digital nomads to then be able to take advantage of this business opportunity,” said Carlos Santos.

Cabo Verde recorded a record of more than 819,000 tourists in 2019, but that demand fell by more than 70% in 2020 due to internationally imposed limitations to curb Covid-19 transmission.