Luxembourg’s support for Cabo Verde will increase over the next five years to 78 million euros for projects to be carried out in the archipelago, a relationship that began in Santo Antão, with the dynamism of emigrants from the island in Luxembourg.
In an interview with Lusa news agency, the chargé d’affaires of the Luxembourg embassy in Praia, Thomas Barbancey, explained that the relationship between the two countries – Cabo Verde has Luxembourg as one of the biggest funders of structural projects, with 58 million euros invested over the past five years – began in the 1980s.
A “relationship of cooperation” that is “deeply rooted in human connections and friendship between the respective populations,” following the arrival of the first Cape Verdean emigrants to Luxembourg.
“Mutual respect, as well as the similarities between our countries, the relatively modest size, led to certain Luxembourgers visiting the archipelago, thus creating natural links of solidarity through Luxembourg NGOs, particularly in Santo Antão, where the majority of Cape Verdeans living in Luxembourg originated”.
In 1993 the two countries signed the first general cooperation agreement, which quickly moved on to another level. Since 2002, both governments have agreed five Indicative Cooperation Programmes (PICs), with growing financial envelopes.
The fifth PIC, for the period 2021 to 2025, was signed in July 2020 by the two governments and will have a financial support component from Luxembourg of 78 million euros. An increase of €20 million compared to the programme still running.
“Over time, our cooperation has become more diversified and is no longer limited to Santo Antão, where it all began, but benefits the entire country. At the same time, it has evolved from infrastructure projects to focus on capacity building and knowledge transfer and has also diversified at the economic and cultural level”.
“But also in matters of defence and maritime security, where we started collaborating in 2018,” he pointed out.
For the Luxembourg embassy, Cabo Verde knows how to correctly apply the funding received, which translates into a strengthening of links.
“These bonds of trust are illustrated by the fact that Cabo Verde is, to date, the only partner to which we make a transfer of funds directly from the Luxembourg Treasury for the country to invest directly and autonomously,” he explained.
At the moment, this modality is only applied “for part” of the cooperation in the Employment and Employability sector, but budgetary aid will be extended “also to Health”, he announced.
The next PIC focuses on projects in the areas of Development, Climate and Energy and will have five axes of support, in the cases of employment and employability, water and sanitation, local development and energy transition.
“The people of Santo Antão have managed to do so much with so little. I am pleased to note that some of the support provided by Luxembourg can be seen among the island’s successes, such as the regional hospital, or the schools and high schools that have been built, or rural electrification covering almost all localities,” he added.
He said that Cabo Verde has followed “a remarkable path since independence”, by managing “with few natural resources, to build a solid democracy, with proven good governance, while having known how to ensure notable social progress”.
“The work done in terms of access to education, basic, secondary, technical and vocational education has seen an extraordinary evolution”, he exemplified.
On the ground, Luxembourg’s support is visible in the water and sanitation sector, to “ensure access to quality water” and access to energy, jointly contributing, since 2015, to “stimulate an increase in renewable energy supply”, thus lowering the price of electricity and water.